Libby Found Guilty On Four Counts


Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff is now a convicted felon.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been found guilty of four of five charges in the CIA leak case stemming from a three-year investigation and trial that revealed the innermost workings of the top levels at the Bush White House.

A jury found Libby guilty of charges claiming he lied to the FBI and a grand jury, and obstructed justice.

The former White House aide faces as many as 25 years in prison and fines up to $1 million.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said that President Bush was in the Oval Office and watched reports on the verdict on television.

Perino acknowledged that the President respected the jury's verdict although he is saddened for Scooter Libby and his family.

Libby's wife held back tears in the courtroom as the verdict was read, but outside the courthouse, Libby's defense team was defiant.

Ted Wells, Libby's lead attorney, told reporters gathered outside, "We are very disappointed in the verdict of the jurors," adding later, "We intend to file a motion for a new trial and, if that is denied, we will appeal the conviction and we have every confidence that, ultimately, Mr. Libby will be vindicated."

Wells insisted Libby is "totally innocent" and that "he did not do anything wrong."

Patrick Fitzgerald, the lead federal prosecutor on the case, countered simply, "The jury was obviously convinced beyond a reasonable doubt."

Fitzgerald said it was "sad" that a "high level official in the vice president's office lied."

Jury Convinced Libby Lied

The jury of seven women and four men concluded Libby lied to FBI agents and a grand jury throughout the course of the investigation into the leaked identity of Valerie Plame, a one time undercover CIA operative.

Prosecutors argued Libby helped lead a campaign to refute and discredit Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson.

The defense countered by attacking the credibility of key prosecution witnesses and citing Libby's spotty memory as the cause for any discrepancy in his statements, but the jury was not convinced.

Wilson's criticism of the administration's case for war against Iraq came to a head in July of 2003, when he wrote a blistering opinion piece in the New York Times.

In the article, Wilson stated bluntly, "Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

On a conference call with reporters, Wilson said, "We take great comfort that this is a nation of law and no citizens are above the law."

Wilson said President Bush and Vice President Cheney owe the country a greater explanation for what happened in this issue and that they should share what they told the prosecution during the investigation of the case.

"There is no longer any excuse for the president and vice president to hide behind an ongoing trial," Wilson said.

Wilson announced plans to pursue a civil trial against Cheney, Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Following the trial, juror Denis Collins, a former Washington Post writer, told reporters there was a "tremendous amount of sympathy" for Libby and that most of the jury thought, "He was the fall guy."

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