Libby Sentenced to 30 Months in Jail in CIA Leak Case

By: Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Tuesday for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, stood calmly before a packed courtroom as a federal judge said the evidence overwhelmingly proved his guilt.

"People who occupy these types of positions, where they have the welfare and security of nation in their hands, have a special obligation to not do anything that might create a problem," U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said.

Libby was convicted in March of lying and obstructing an investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

The highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since the Iran-Contra affair, Libby has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

"It is respectfully my hope that the court will consider, along with the jury verdict, my whole life," Libby said in brief remarks to the judge.

Walton fined Libby $250,000 and placed him on probation for two years following his release from prison. Walton did not immediately address whether Libby could remain free pending appeal.

UPDATE The New York Times reports:

"Mr. Libby, silent and stony-faced, and his lawyers left the courthouse through a pack of journalists and a few hecklers, who shouted, 'Go to jail right now! Take Cheney with you!' and other imprecations.

"There has been widespread speculation that President Bush might pardon Mr. Libby, but the White House said today that the president would take no action while appeals are pending. Mr. Bush himself is in Europe; a White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said Mr. Bush felt 'terrible' about the ordeal of Mr. Libby and his family.

"Mr. Cheney released a statement this afternoon calling Mr. Libby 'a man of the highest intellect, judgment and personal integrity - a man fully committed to protecting the vital security interests of the United States and its citizens.' Noting Mr. Libby's appeal, Mr. Cheney said that he and his wife 'hope that our system will return a final result consistent with what we know of this fine man.'"


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