MARCH 06, 2007
A former presidential assistant and chief of staff to the vice president, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, became the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony in two decades for lying and obstructing a leak investigation involving an intelligence operative.
After 10 days of deliberating, jurors found Libby guilty of one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about how he learned the Central Intelligence Agency official’s identity and who he told.
Federal prosecutors claim that Libby learned the agent’s name (Valerie Plame) from Vice President Dick Cheney, told reporters and lied to avoid prosecution. His case was part of a lengthy investigation into how Plame’s name was leaked to the media in 2003 in an effort by White House official officials to discredit Plame’s husband, a former ambassador, who accused the administration of doctoring prewar intelligence in Iraq.
Libby faces up to 25 years in prison, a $1 million fine and he has the dubious honor of being the highest ranking White House official to be criminally convicted since the 1980s Iran-Contra fiasco. Jurors expressed doubt immediately after their verdict was read, however. Several said that they felt sympathy for Libby and believed he was only the “fall guy.”
Wonkette says the trial was a farce and that, right up to the final stages of deliberations, the jury was confused as to just what Libby was accused of doing. . Poliblog writes that, to this day, it is unclear as to whether any laws were broken regarding Plame’s status. Many predict Libby will get a presidential pardon.
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