Saturday, May 26, 2007
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has asked U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to impose a sentence of 30 to 37 months on I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney who was convicted on perjury, false statement, and obstruction charges. The range is based on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which the Judge is likely to use in calculating the prison term. The government's Sentencing Memorandum (available below) takes issue with letters submitted by supporters of Libby arguing that the punishment should not include a prison term because of his public service and the fact that this was a politically-motivated prosecution. On the issue of the propriety of a perjury prosecution when there are no charges on the underlying conduct, the Special Counsel writes:
[T]he suggestion that there is something unusual or inappropriate about pursuing a prosecution for a crime of obstruction where the underlying crime is not prosecuted is a red herring (and oddly suggests that Mr. Libby’s prosecution would not have been “wrongful” if only the government had brought more charges against him or others). Such perjury prosecutions are hardly unusual; indeed, as the Supreme Court noted in Mandujano. Our system of justice would break down if witnesses were allowed to lie with impunity. This is especially true where the lies at issue succeeded in preventing the investigators from determining with confidence what had occurred.
No word yet on what sentence Libby's lawyers will argue for, but there's no doubt it will be much lower, perhaps even a request for probation or home confinement. Sentencing is set for June 5, 2007. (ph)