2007-07-03

Bush bewahrt Spindoktor vor Gefängnis

--- Bush hat mit Lewis Libby einen seiner untergebensten Diener in der CIA-Affäre rund um Judy Miller einfach mal freigeboxt, was Medien wie die New York Times wenig erfreut aufnehmen:
President Bush spared I. Lewis Libby Jr. from prison Monday, commuting his two-and-a-half-year sentence while leaving intact his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the C.I.A. leak case. Mr. Bush’s action, announced hours after a panel of judges ruled that Mr. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, could not put off serving his sentence while he appealed his conviction, came as a surprise to all but a few members of the president’s inner circle. It reignited the passions that have surrounded the case from the beginning. The commutation brought immediate praise from conservatives, who hailed it as a courageous step to avert a miscarriage of justice, and condemnation from Democrats, who said it showed a lack of accountability and respect for the law. The president portrayed his commutation of the sentence, which fell short of a pardon and still requires Mr. Libby to pay a $250,000 fine and be on probation for two years, as a carefully considered compromise. “I respect the jury’s verdict,” Mr. Bush said in a statement. “But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.” ... The action drew a sharp response from Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the case, in which Mr. Libby was accused of lying to investigators looking into the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s identity. ... “In this case an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws,” Mr. Fitzgerald said in a statement. “It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals.” ... Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, acknowledged that the president had acted within his powers. But Mr. Leahy said: “Accountability has been in short supply in the Bush administration, and this commutation fits that pattern. It is emblematic of a White House that sees itself as being above the law.”

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