Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Libby sentence commuted

Ah, more of that famous George W. Bush mercy toward criminals...:
Bush has granted fewer pardons -- 113 -- than any president in the past 100 years, while denying more than 1,000 requests, said Margaret Colgate Love, the Justice Department's pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997.

In addition, Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending, Love said.

But remember, it was only his prison sentence that got axed. So let that be a lesson to all of you potential criminals out there, if you try to lie to a grand jury and obstruct a federal investigation, you might end up having to, uh, pay a fine.

Meanwhile, Scoot's friends are pushing for Fitzgerald to be subject to charges of prosecutorial misconduct for, I guess, punishing the wrong kind of people. Wouldn't that be peachy, if all this mess ended with Scooty getting off scoot-free and Patrick Fitzgerald's career being destroyed?

Speaking of investigations, Marcy Wheeler at The Next Hurrah, who's an expert on the Valerie Plame outing, believes that W opted for a commutation instead of a pardon to keep Libby from saving his own ass by talking, while preserving his 5th amendment rights. That would, so the argument goes, make W's move technically obstruction of justice. Josh Marshall says that this is actually the most infuriating part of W's decision, not simply the moral double-standard for his buddies. Remembering that the president is in all likelihood a party in the investigation derailed by Libby (and further derailed by inoculating Libby from flipping), and that the vice president most certainly is a party, changes the entire context of the decision and snaps it into perspective.

Someone on dKos made a good point: does this mean that Paris Hilton got a tougher penalty than Scooter Libby?

Or, as Steve Benen says, is this amnesty by another name? Are we now going to hear conservatives busting out with: "It's not amnesty, he'll still have to pay a fine!"

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