As predicted by almost everyone, including me, Scooter will not spend a single day in jail.
President Bush commuted the sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby yesterday, sparing Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff 2 1/2 years in prison after a federal appeals court had refused to let Libby remain free while he appeals his conviction for lying to federal investigators.
Bush, who for months had sidestepped calls from conservatives to come to Libby’s aid, broke his silence early yesterday evening, touching off an immediate uproar from Democrats who accused the White House of circumventing the rule of law to protect one of its own.
The president announced his decision in a written statement that laid out the factors he had weighed. Bush said he decided to “respect” the jury’s verdict that Libby was guilty of four felonies for lying about his role in the leak of a covert CIA officer’s identity. But the president said Libby’s “exceptional public service” and prior lack of a criminal record led him to conclude that the 30-month sentence handed down by a judge last month was “excessive.”
“Excessive”. For protecting the people who blew an undercover agent’s status and career by lying and destroying evidence, 2 1/2 yrs – out in a year or so on parole – was “excessive”. And this from the man who laughed about signing death sentences in Texas – 152 of them – the leader of a so-called “law-and-order” party.
Zero jail time and two years’ probation for the man who covered up for traitors. I guess we know now that to Bush and the rest of the GOP, “law and order” is just the title of a tv show.
Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who is an expert on federal criminal sentencing policies, said it is “hypocritical and appalling from a president whose Justice Department is always fighting” attempts by judges and lawmakers to lower the punishment called for under federal sentencing guidelines. Berman said Bush’s message amounted to “My friend Scooter shouldn’t have to serve 30 months in prison because I don’t want him to.”
That about sums it up.