Libby Sentence Commuted

By Theresa Cook

Jul 2, 2007 6:04pm

ABC News’ Jon Garcia, Jason Ryan and Theresa Cook Report:  Hours after an appeals court shot down a request to keep I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby out of prison pending the appeal of his conviction, President George W. Bush has commuted his sentence.

“I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive,” Bush’s statement said.  “Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby’s attorneys had asked a federal appeals court to keep Libby out of prison until the appeal of his conviction is resolved, stating that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald did not have the proper authority to bring the case against Libby, and that the judge in the case did not allow witnesses key to the defense to testify during the trial.

A federal jury found Libby guilty March 6 on charges that he lied to the FBI and a grand jury, and obstructed justice in the investigation into the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, a former covert CIA operative.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton sentenced Libby to serve 30 months in prison and pay $250,000 in fines last month.

“He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect,” Bush’s statement noted.  “The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

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