‘Law and Order’ Newspapers Urge Pardon for Libby

By: E&P Staff

A number of newspapers normally tough on “law and order” issues have come out editorially for the immediate freeing of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, convicted on Tuesday in a federal court of four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice.

In addition, The Washington Post on Wednesday lamented the entire probe, inspiring one of its own online columnists, Dan Froomkin, to observe today: “Washington’s media elites have been against this case from the beginning, seeing Fitzgerald and Wilson as unwelcome interlopers threatening the cozy relationship between the city’s top political journalists and their sources.

“So perhaps today’s Washington Post editorial shouldn’t come as a surprise. And yet it does….making assertions that aren’t supported by facts that have been reported by its own news operation and others, the editorial concludes that the guilty verdict is, of all things, a vindication of the White House and an indictment of the prosecutor.”

Here is a sampling of the pro-pardon editorials.

The New York Post: “Libby’s lawyers yesterday confidently predicted he’ll be vindicated on appeal.

“He shouldn’t have to wait.

“President Bush should make things right – by pardoning Libby.

“Sure, he’d take a lot of political heat for it. But Libby was in the dock because of politics – and turnabout is fair play.

“Free Scooter Libby.”

Wall Street Journal: “The conviction is certainly a travesty of justice, though that is not the jury’s fault. The 11 men and women were faced with confusing evidence of conflicting memories in a case that never should have been brought….

“As for the media, most of our brethren were celebrating the conviction yesterday because it damaged the Bush Administration they loathe. But they too will pay a price for holding Mr. Fitzgerald’s coat. The Bush Administration will soon be history, but the damage Mr. Fitzgerald has done to the ability to protect media sources and to the willingness of government officials to speak openly to reporters will last far longer.

“Mr. Bush will no doubt be advised to wait for the outcome of an appeal and the end of his Administration to pardon Mr. Libby. We believe he bears some personal responsibility for this conviction, especially for not policing the disputes and insubordination in his Administration that made this travesty possible. The time for a pardon is now.”

New York Sun: “President Bush’s failure to halt the prosecution of Libby has costs to the presidency itself. The president delivered one of his most moving and persuasive war speeches yet yesterday to the American Legion, but it won’t make many headlines today, because the focus will be on the Libby convictions. Appointing a special counsel was supposed to have made this distraction go away, but the effect instead has been to aggravate the situation. The president’s best move would be to exercise his absolute and unfettered bedrock constitutional prerogative of a pardon.”

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