Earlier today, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected Scooter Libby’s request to remain free on bond pending the appeal of his conviction, upholding Judge Walton’s similar order. That meant that Libby would be going to prison imminently. But wait — just moments ago, President Bush announced that members of his administration may lie to a federal prosecutor and to a federal grand jury without significant consequences — unlike the rest of us. From Bush’s statement:
Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.
Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.
I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
We trust that President Bush will undertake his “own evaluation” of all other convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice currently in the system, and will commute their sentences according to his own as yet undisclosed criteria for what constitutes an “excessive” prison sentence. Or not.
Oh, and courtesy of Poor Man, let us contrast Bush’s current stance with what he said as Governor of Texas:
I don’t believe my role [as governor] is to replace the verdict of a jury with my own, unless there are new facts or evidence of which a jury was unaware, or evidence that the trial was somehow unfair.
So much for Republicans as the party of law and order. Viva the culture of corruption!