Former White House aide found guilty in CIA leak case

By
March 6, 2007 19:52

Libby convicted of obstruction, perjury, and lying to the FBI.

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Former White House aide found guilty in CIA leak case

scooter libby. (photo credit: )

Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted Tuesday of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was accused of lying and obstructing in the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. Her husband is a prominent Iraq war critic. He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI. The verdict was read on the 10th day of deliberations. Libby faces up to 30 years in prison, though under federal sentencing guidelines likely will receive far less. Libby faced two counts of perjury, two counts of lying to the FBI and one count of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said he discussed Plame's name with reporters and, fearing prosecution, made up a story to make those discussions seem innocuous. Libby's defense team said he learned about Plame from Cheney, forgot about it, then learned it again a month later from NBC newsman Tim Russert. Anything he told reporters about Plame, Libby said, was just chatter and rumors, not official government information. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said that was a lie but defense attorneys said it would be unfair to convict Libby in a case where so many witnesses changed their stories or had memory problems. Libby had little reaction to the verdict. He stood expressionless as the jury left the room. "I can't say I've seen a better group of jurors who conscientiously listened to the evidence and went about the business of deciding the case," US District Judge Reggie B. Walton said. Walton ordered a pre-sentencing report be completed by May 15. Judges use such reports to help determine sentences. Libby's defense attorney, Theodore Wells, said he would ask the court for a new trial by April 13. Such requests are common after criminal convictions. Libby was allowed to remain free while awaiting sentencing, while awaiting sentencing, which is set for June 5. As the verdicts were read, Libby's wife choked out a sob and sank her head. Moments later, she embraced the defense attorneys. The jury acquitted Libby of one count of lying to the FBI about his conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.


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