Bush Commutes 'Scooter' Libby Sentence - TheStreet

Bush Commutes 'Scooter' Libby Sentence

The president's move comes hours after a federal appeals panel rules that Libby couldn't delay his prison term.
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President Bush commuted the prison sentence of former White House aide I. Lewis ''Scooter'' Libby on Monday, according to news reports.

Bush's move came after a federal appeals panel in Washington, D.C., earlier Monday ruled that Libby had to begin serving a 2 1/2-year prison term. Libby was convicted in March for lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative,

The New York Times

reported on its Web site.

Although Libby, 56, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, was spared a federal prison sentence, his conviction still stands.

"My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby,'' Bush said in a statement. "The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting.''

Libby still must pay a $250,000 fine and serve two years' probation, according to

The Associated Press

, but can continue to appeal his conviction and the fine.

The issue of whether to pardon Libby has been an issue in candidates' debates for the 2008 presidential election.