Libby drops appeal of conviction in leak case

December 11, 2007|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney whose sentence for lying and obstructing justice in the CIA leak case was commuted by President Bush last summer, has dropped his legal appeal.

The announcement from Libby's lawyer could be the coda to a scandal that riveted official Washington for several years, saw one top-name journalist imprisoned for refusing to say who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame and ignited a debate about whether the White House misled the country into war in Iraq.

Libby was found guilty in March of obstruction of justice, making false statements to the FBI and two counts of perjury; he was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bush commuted the sentence before Libby served any time. Bush could still pardon him, wiping out the conviction, before he leaves office.

"We remain firmly convinced of Mr. Libby's innocence," his attorney, Theodore Wells, said yesterday in a statement. "However, the realities were that after five years of government service by Mr. Libby and several years of defending against this case, the burden on Mr. Libby and his young family of continuing to pursue his complete vindication are too great to ask them to bear."

Wells explained that the decision not to continue the appeal was tactical. "The appeal would lead only to a retrial," he said, "a process that would last even beyond the two years of supervised release, cost millions of dollars more than the fine he has already paid, and entail many more hundreds of hours preparing for an all- consuming appeal and retrial."

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