Monday, December 10, 2007

The Timing on Libby Dropping His Appeal

Yesterday was Sentencing Day.  From the Gall and Kimbrough decisions by the Supreme Court (here), the sentencing of Michael Vick (here) and Conrad Black (here), Libby dropping his appeal could easily have slipped by without much notice.  But in the new world of blogs, that seldom happens.  It was mentioned here, as well as Doug Berman's Sentencing Law & Policy Blog, Jerri Meritt's Talk Left, Huffington Post here, and a host of other places.  And many were speculating on why I "Scooter" Libby would make this strange move of dropping his appeal.  Several things to notice here:

  • Although Libby might not have known that the Supreme Court decisions would be issued Monday, the sentencing of Conrad Black was a foregone conclusion. How best to remove oneself from being a "front-pager" then to move when other news is hot.
  • Some are speculating as to whether this dismissal is in anticipation of a possible pardon (see here)- but that's just speculation, and a pardon might not be a positive act to assist in a legal disciplinary matter.

The Libby Legal Defense Trust Fund contains a statement by Libby's lawyer Ted Wells (here) that includes the statement that

"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."

In many ways this statement tells it all for anyone who has been through a government investigation, followed by a trial, and then a conviction.  This may in some ways have been the worst part, both on Libby and his family. The strain of a long white collar investigation is grueling on not only the individual being investigated, but also those around that person.  At some point one says - enough is enough and lets move on.  Irrespective of whether Libby gets a pardon or not, one has to credit him with doing something that may not have been best for him (a possible vindication if completely successful on appeal and retrial) but is probably best for those around him. 


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