Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"Evidence in this case overwhelmingly indicated Mr. Libby's culpability "

Scooter Libby today expressed no remorse, and Judge Reggie B. Walton showed no mercy.

Libby's defense team had asked for probation. But Walton sentenced Libby to two and a half years in prison and fined him $250,000. Libby was found guilty in March of obstruction of justice for lying to a federal grand jury and the FBI about his disclosure of former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity to reporters.

Walton put off another important decision, however. Saying he was not inclined to grant the defense's request that Libby be allowed to remain free on appeal, Walton nevertheless put off his decision until a June 14 hearing.

Amb. Joseph Wilson:
(husband of `outed' CIA agent
Valerie Plame)

As Americans, both Valerie and I are grateful that justice has been served, reconfirming that our country remains a nation of laws.
We are also saddened for the pain that Mr. Libby has inflicted on his family, friends, and the nation. Mr. Libby benefited from the best this country had to offer: the finest schools, a lucrative career as a lawyer and many years of service in Republican administrations. That he would knowingly lie, perjure himself and obstruct a legitimate criminal
investigation is incomprehensible.

It is our hope that he will now cooperate with Special Counsel Fitzgerald in his efforts to get to the truth. As Mr. Fitzgerald has said, a cloud remains over the Vice President.

Every official in this administration must be held accountable for their actions.


Via the WaPo, from Amy Goldstein and Carol Leonnig:

"Evidence in this case overwhelmingly indicated Mr. Libby's culpability," U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said moments before he handed out the sentence. The judge said he was sentencing Libby "with a sense of sadness. I have the highest respect for people who take positions in our government and appreciate tremendously efforts they bring to bear to protect this country."

At the same time, Walton said, "I also think it is important we expect and demand a lot from people who put themselves in those positions. Mr. Libby failed to meet the bar. For whatever reason, he got off course.["]…

Prosecutors successfully argued that Libby had lied repeatedly to the FBI and a grand jury about how and when he learned about Plame's identity–and what he told reporters about her.

In the court filing that sought Libby's prison term, Fitzgerald emphasized that Libby's lies prevented investigators from learning the full truth about the campaign to discredit Wilson, and may have helped conceal another administration official's criminal leaks. Fitzgerald noted that Cheney was one of the first people to tell Libby about Plame, and that Libby has testified that Cheney and he may have talked about sharing information about Plame with reporters….

The month-long trial cast a harsh light on the way power and information flow through Washington. It offered a window onto the nation's divisions over the war, the Bush administration's disdain for critics and the complex working relationship between an elite tier of Washington journalists and their confidential sources inside the government.

The weeks of testimony and evidence also exposed rivalries within the White House, and the close guarding of information, even among the president's top aides. The trial also made clear that Cheney was involved more personally than had previously been known in the administration's campaign to discredit Wilson.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was revealed as Novak's original source on Plame's identity, a fact that Fitzgerald learned early in his investigation….

In the weeks before today's sentencing, admirers and detractors of Libby sent Walton more than 150 letters recommending leniency or a harsh prison term. Walton today released the letters, which come from high-ranking government officials and ordinary citizens. Among the current and former officials are former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger, and Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ten days after the trial ended, Plame broke her long public silence about the case during an appearance on Capitol Hill. Calmly but bitterly, she lashed out at the the president's aides, telling a House committee that they had destroyed her career and slipped her name to reporters for "purely political motives That same day, the CIA confirmed for the first time that Plame had been working in a covert capacity when Novak's column disclosed her identity and that her employment status was classified under an executive order. (emphasis mine)

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