Libby Gets 2 1/2 Years; Is Cheney Next?

5 de junio de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="23" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Libby Gets 2 1/2 Years; Is Cheney Next?</h1><p>WASHINGTON, June 5, 2007 (LPAC)--Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison today, for lying and obstructing the investigation into the outing of CIA covert officer Valerie Plame Wilson. In meeting out a longer sentence than what had been recommended by the U.S. Probation Office, Judge Reginald Walton stressed the seriousness of Libby's illegal conduct, and indicated that he is well aware that Libby was acting in concert with the Vice President himself.</p><p>Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald easily persuaded the judge that he should take into account the nature of the investigation which Libby had obstructed, specifically violations of the Federal Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.</p><p>At one point, Judge Walton was visibly angered by the defense arguments, and he declared, almost yelling, that "if the CIA was concerned that an agent who's protecting our country was outed, then that's a legitimate basis for the Department of Justice to investigate."</p><p>Before pronouncing the sentence, Walton again made clear his anger at the attacks on the prosecution of Libby coming from Libby's defenders, saying that "the attacks on this investigation are misplaced," and that "the evidence overwhelmingly indicates Mr. Libby's culpability." Judge Walton said that we expect and demand more from people who put themselves in high-level positions, and that such a position carries with it a high-level obligation. Even though there is no evidence in the record that Libby was aware of Mrs. Wilson's covert status, Walton said, "as the national security advisor to the Vice President of the United States, Mr. Libby had a unique and special obligation" to make absolutely sure about her status before saying anything to the news media about a person in a national security agency.</p><p>Walton also pointed out that Libby had downloaded articles about Mrs. Wilson's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and kept them in his personal files, and that Libby had a conversation with the Vice President about Mrs. Wilson.</p><p>Walton sentenced Libby to 30 months in prison, plus two years of supervision following his release, and a $250,000 fine.</p><p>Walton said that Libby must surrender to federal prison authorities as soon as the federal Bureau of Prisons selects the facility where he will serve his sentence, which normally takes 45-60 days. At the request of Libby's lawyers, Walton set a hearing for next week on the defense motion for the court to allow Libby to remain free on bond until his appeal is determined, but Walton is clearly not intending to grant any such motion.</p><p>This is not a good day for Vice President Cheney and his dwindling cabal of supporters.</p></div></body>