July 2nd, 2007
12:50 PM ET
11 years ago

Appeals court rejects Libby's bid for bail

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal appeals court Monday rejected former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby's request to remain free on appeal after his March conviction on federal charges stemming from the leak of a CIA agent's identity.

Libby, once Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, faces a 30-month prison term after being convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents probing the 2003 exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, whose husband had become a critic of the war in Iraq.

A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals found Libby has not raised a question for judges "that is 'close' or that 'could very well be decided the other way'" - the standard for remaining free on appeal.

Barring further appeals, Libby's term will start when the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decides where he will serve his time and sets a date for him to surrender. But his lawyers may appeal Monday's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rarely intervenes in these kinds of cases.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversees the D.C. circuit, would decide whether to send any emergency petition to the full court.

Libby was convicted of lying to a grand jury and to investigators seeking to trace the leak of Wilson's identity, but not with disclosing her name itself.

Wilson was exposed as a CIA operative in a July 2003 column by Washington pundit and former CNN contributor Robert Novak, who cited two "senior administration officials" for the information. Those officials - later identified as then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser - cooperated with the investigation and were never charged in the leak.

At trial, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told the jury that Libby's actions left "a cloud over the White House" by obstructing the leak probe.

Wilson had worked in the CIA's counter-proliferation division before the invasion of Iraq. She told a congressional committee in March that the disclosure effectively ended her career and endangered "entire networks" of agents overseas.

The CIA had asked her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to go to the African nation of Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium ore to restart its nuclear weapons program, then shuttered under U.N. sanctions.

The claim was part of the Bush administration's case for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. But after the invasion, when U.S. forces were finding none of Iraq's suspected weapons programs, Wilson said he had returned to the United
States and told the CIA that the report was dubious.

The Wilsons have filed a civil suit over the controversy, arguing that White House officials - including Cheney - conspired to blow Valerie Wilson's cover in retaliation for her husband's criticism. The officials named have denied the allegations.

- CNN's Paul Courson and Bill Mears contributed to this report

Filed under: Scooter Libby
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Ray, Philadelphia, PA

    Buh-bye, now.

    July 2, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Dave

    He deserves to go to jail immediately, but I doubt he will serve a day. The corruption in this administration will see to that.

    July 2, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Pete, Tarpon Springs, FL

    Should the Supreme Court intervene in this case on behalf of “W” and friends an ethics investigation is warranted.


    July 2, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Erik DuPont, Washington D.C.

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Justice delayed is justice denied. Off you go Scooter, just like every other convicted felon ..you must surrender yourself to US Bureau of Prisons and begin serving your sentence ..now is the time to be the the man you claim to be.....

    July 2, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Peter Miami Florida

    Great feel good news. MADE MY DAY!! Now, on to Cheney and Rove.

    July 2, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    My advice to Mr. Libby would be to take a deep breath, say goodbye to everyone, and start doing your number like a man (or like Martha Stewart)pending appeal. It doesn't get any easier as you get older, and the Shrub is too busy now to pardon you.

    July 2, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    He is indicted for being the leaker of some "supposed" CIA operative, but during his trial the REAL person who leaked the name admits it.

    Libby who is not the leaker, but is guilty of not recalling certain innocuous conversations that had NOTHING to do with leaking anything???

    Clinton also under oath can't recall having sex, admits lying after the fact, spends no time in jail and is loved as a great leader despite REPEATED indiscretions.

    Clinton signs off on Sandy Berger going into the archives and while in there he STEALS documents right before the all important 9-11 commission was to meet.

    Clinton waves finger at Chris Wallace and Berger gets no jail time and a small fine. Sounds right?

    Republicans/Independents in the primaries vote for Obama. He must be the nominee......

    July 2, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Glenn, Birmingham

    He's been tried & convicted.

    July 2, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. Jazzbeaux Beiderbecke

    I love the smell of justice at 1:15 eastern.

    July 2, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Denny Reeves Norfolk NE

    Finally some REAL JUSTICE for this administration. Enough has been enough for this crowd in MY White House!!

    July 2, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Jon, Philadelphia, PA

    He's siimply stalling until the end of Bush's term, at which point he'll receive a Presidential pardon. I'd like to say more, but how can you?

    July 2, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. MCD, San Francisco, CA

    He broke the law... it is just that simple.

    July 2, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Chris

    Scooter knows why the caged Bear sings.

    He'll flip on Rove.

    July 2, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. James Atlanta, GA

    Does anyone else remember when Clinton perjured himself. Remember that he did the exact same thing. He lied under oath. Now, I do not remember him going to jail. He broke the law. It is just that simple, if MCD from San Francisco is correct. Yet, I do not remember any jail time for him.

    Everyone who is rooting this witch-hunt on, I hope you all are proud that your partisan views of "W" are really hampering true justice. Even though the man who actually leaked the name is not be prosecuted for a crime, a man that could not recall facts and dates accurately under duress is being sent to jail. Even the witness testimony that they used to convict him is contradictory on dates (which means that the key witness lied under oat as well). And, for the sake of clarity, the only reason that he was even prosecuted was because he is connected to the Bush Administration. Mr. Libby is not "W's” scapegoat, he is the Left's scapegoat so they can thumb their noses at the President. I just hope we all are comfortable with doing that to someone, no matter how much you hate President Bush.

    July 2, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Thanks James from Atlanta, more rational thinking and actual truth-telling.

    July 2, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Mike, Corpus Christi Texas

    Thats the problem. People keep on refering to Bill Clinton did this, and Bill Clinton did that, etc. All of that is in the past, It's all a part of history. The Repubs keep on digging that stuff up, cause they can't find anything better to do with their time. Let it go, and get realistic! Deal with the current issues, because being current is relevant!

    July 2, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Charles Hammond - Martin, TN

    guilty of not recalling certain innocuous conversations

    Um, no. He was convicted, unanimously, by a jury of his peers, of lying under oath (perjury), twice. Oh yeah, and he was also convicted, unanimously, by a jury of his peers of obstructing justice.

    Did I mention that the judge was appointed by a Republican president?

    Did I mention that the prosecutor was appointed by a Republican administration?

    Funny how Republicans are all about law-and-order until a member of this administration is found guilty of a felony (or in the case of Libby, multiple counts of two felonies). Then it's a "witch hunt."

    July 2, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Charles Hammond - Martin, TN

    And, for the sake of clarity, the only reason that he was even prosecuted was because he is connected to the Bush Administration.

    Yes, the Bush administration, which appointed both the judge (Reggie Walton) and the prosecutor (Patrick Fitzgerald), really has it out for the Bush administration.

    July 2, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI Canada

    The Justice System never changes!

    The Fall Guy Falls and Birds that did the crimes are UP Up And Away!

    Maybe if Justice Systems around the world could actually get their act together our communities might become safer places to raise our children.

    Gee aren't we so blessed that Science has finally given us DNA scientific evidence illiminating any possibility of the wrong person being convicted or executed for a crime they did not commit!

    HUH What's That?

    July 2, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Connie

    Go directly to jail, don't pass GO, don't collect $200.00.

    July 2, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Clinton "lied" about a semantic, that being the definition of sexual relations. Scooter was convicted of obstruction of justice. I'd rather be lied to about how a dress got messed up than putting a CIA operative at risk. One is just a dress. The other is someone's life.

    Don't forget the whole thing revolved around faulty information regarding Nigerian yellow cake and Bush's missing weapons of mass destruction.

    Scooter is a scapegoat but he isn't innocent. He committed the crime. He should do the time.

    July 2, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Mary Duffy, Rochester MN

    and now Bush commutes his sentence. WOW I'm shocked.

    July 2, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. DeJuan

    Wow, how quickly these posts become obsolete...

    July 2, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. David, Gilbert Arizona

    So much for abiding by the law.

    July 2, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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