Criminal Justice

Libby Letters Mainly Sought Leniency

From former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to a neighbor helped by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby with her septic tank, some 200 people wrote letters to the federal court judge about to sentence him for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Most sought leniency for the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, praising his personal characteristics, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), which reviewed the missives after they were released by Judge Reggie B. Walton, in Washington, D.C. Some of the letters can be viewed in a nearly 400-page attachment (PDF) to the Journal story. And a “Lawyers Edition” of the Libby letters, discussing what attorneys wrote the judge about him, is provided by the Wall Street Journal’s law law blog.

However, a few letter-writers aggressively sought prison time, for Libby. He was in fact sentenced yesterday to two and a half years and a $250,000 fine in the case, over his efforts to thwart a federal investigation into how Valerie Plame was identified by government officials as a CIA agent.

As the Washington Post points out, the letters also provide a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the inner workings of the Bush administration. Libby’s ex-boss, the vice president, didn’t write a letter to the judge, but issued a statement after sentencing that he and his wife were “deeply saddened by this tragedy” and, “speaking as friends,” hoped for a better result on appeal.

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