Criminal Justice

Libby Pardon a Sensitive Topic

President Bush has granted fewer pardons than most presidents and has said he will not be quick to grant one in the case of former aide I. Lewis Libby Jr.

Bush has said he will not intervene until Libby exhausts his appeals, the New York Times reports. Libby, the vice president’s former chief of staff, was convicted of lying to investigators probing the leak of a CIA agent’s identity.

Some conservatives are hoping Bush will change his mind and grant his 114th pardon to Libby.

The Washington Post reports the topic of a pardon is so sensitive that top presidential aides have not been kept in the loop and close friends have been advised not to bring it up.

Yesterday a Bush spokesman said the president will wait to see what happens when the presiding judge holds a hearing next week on whether Libby may remain free pending an appeal.

Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin says the thinking is that Bush will grant a pardon before Libby goes to prison.

A former senior administration official told the Times Libby had not met Justice Department advisory guidelines for a pardon since he had not shown remorse or served time.

“It would show a deep disregard for the rule of law if he was to do it right now, when there has been no remorse shown by a convicted felon and no time has been served. How’s this going to fit in his long-term legacy?”

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