Scooter Libby Denied Bail During Appeals
Barring a presidential pardon, it appears that Scooter Libby is headed to jail soon.
A federal appeals court Monday rejected former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s request to remain free on appeal after his March conviction on federal charges stemming from the leak of a CIA agent’s identity. Libby, once Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, faces a 30-month prison term after being convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents probing the 2003 exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, whose husband had become a critic of the war in Iraq.
A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals found Libby has not raised a question for judges “that is ‘close’ or that ‘could very well be decided the other way’” — the standard for remaining free on appeal.
Barring further appeals, Libby’s term will start when the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decides where he will serve his time and sets a date for him to surrender. But his lawyers may appeal Monday’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rarely intervenes in these kinds of cases.
Not particularly surprising. As noted previously, the norm is for convicted felons to go to jail given that the burden of proof has shifted to them to prove that there were errors at the trial level that swayed the verdict.
This will increase pressure on President Bush to issue a pardon or at least commute the sentence. All indications, however, is that he is not inclined to do that.