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October 31, 2005

Still more on Libby's plea and sentencing dynamics

Assessments of what's next for Lewis Libby in the CIA leak case following his indictment Friday continue to spotlight the interplay of politics and pleas and sentencing.  This New York Times story notes that in the White House "there is speculation about whether Mr. Libby, facing the possibility of significant prison time if convicted, may decide that even his loyalty to the Bush-Cheney team has its limits," and explains that the "speculation posits that Mr. Libby may seek a plea bargain that could win him leniency and perhaps limit or sidestep jail time."

Meanwhile, Ellen Podgor here at White Collar Crime Prof Blog astutely notes that "Libby, a lawyer, has more to lose with a plea if the plea implicates his law license."  She also wonders, "will Prosecutor Fitzgerald offer a plea, and will it be a reasonable one?  If he does offer a plea will it be dependent upon Libby testifying against others?"

Finally, this Newday column sets forth intriguing guideline ranges in the Libby case, stating that, under "the federal sentencing guidelines, ... [if Libby] goes to trial and loses, 97 to 121 months is a realistic figure, 21 to 27 months if he takes a guilty plea before trial in some kind of point-his-fingers-at-others deal."  Notably, experienced former US probation officer Fran Bowman in these comments to a prior post, came up with much different numbers in her Libby calculations.  So much for the guidelines creating sentencing certainty.

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October 31, 2005 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

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