Libby Sentenced to 2½ Years in CIA Leak Case

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff is headed to prison for 2½ years.

Federal Judge Reggie Walton also ordered I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to pay $250,000 in fines. Additionally, the former aide will be on probation for two years following the completion of his prison term.

In a written statement released several hours after the sentencing, Cheney had warm words for his former aide, calling him a man of "the highest intellect, judgment and personal integrity" who is "fully committed to protecting the vital security interests of the United States and its citizens."

"Scooter is also a friend," Cheney continued in his statement, "and on a personal level, Lynne and I remain deeply saddened by this tragedy and its effect on his wife, Harriet, and their young children."

Noting that the defense has filed an appeal, the statement continued, "Speaking as friends, we hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man."

'Consider My Whole Life'

Libby made a brief statement saying to Judge Walton before hearing his fate, saying he appreciated the kindness the court has shown him and his family. Libby did not admit to any mistakes, but said, "I ask that you consider my whole life."

The former aide and his wife, Harriet Grant, appeared stoic as the judge issued the punishment. Lawyers William Jeffress and Ted Wells stood next to their client during the sentencing.

Libby's legal team argued that Libby should remain free on bond, as an appeal of his conviction was filed in April. The judge said he would accept written arguments from the prosecution and the defense, and rule on that matter next week.

If Walton strikes down the defense's argument, Libby will likely report to prison within the next 45-60 days.

Libby did not speak to reporters as he left the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

White House Aide to Convicted Felon

Libby was convicted in March on four felony charges -- accusing him of lying to the FBI and a grand jury, as well as obstructing justice -- related to the CIA Leak probe, the three-year investigation that revealed the behind-the-scenes workings of the White House's inner circle.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told Judge Walton of the difficulty his team had in trying to run down the lies Libby told the grand jury and the FBI.

"He put the investigators in a house of mirrors," he said. "We had to chase down those rabbit holes because he was lying to us." Fitzgerald continued.

In asking for a tough sentence, Fitzgerald asked Judge Walton to be firm.

"[You] need to make a statement that truth matters in the judicial system... the whole system depends on that."

Fitzgerald also said, "his [Libby's] persistence in lying... caused us great frustration."

Defense Asked for Leniency

Libby's defense attorney, Ted Wells, made the plea for leniency because of his client's "exceptional government service."

Wells told Judge Walton people should be "sentenced on their individuals characteristics... based on the good deeds they have done."

The attorney also read several letters of support for Mr. Libby from current and former government officials, including the World Bank's soon to be former boss Paul Wolfowitz, the National Institutes of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci and Adm. Joseph Lopez.

Walton allowed Wells to read them for the record but said, "I've read all the letters."

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