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April 13, 2018

Prez Donald Trump officially pardons Scooter Libby

Today the White House issued this "Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the Pardon of I. “Scooter” Lewis Libby." Here is what it says:

Today, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) to I. “Scooter” Lewis Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, for convictions stemming from a 2007 trial. President George W. Bush commuted Mr. Libby’s sentence shortly after his conviction. Mr. Libby, nevertheless, paid a $250,000 fine, performed 400 hours of community service, and served two years of probation.

In 2015, one of the key witnesses against Mr. Libby recanted her testimony, stating publicly that she believes the prosecutor withheld relevant information from her during interviews that would have altered significantly what she said. The next year, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated Mr. Libby to the bar, reauthorizing him to practice law. The Court agreed with the District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel, who stated that Mr. Libby had presented “credible evidence” in support of his innocence, including evidence that a key prosecution witness had “changed her recollection of the events in question.”

Before his conviction, Mr. Libby had rendered more than a decade of honorable service to the Nation as a public servant at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the White House. His record since his conviction is similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers.

In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon. “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” said President Trump, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly.  Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

I sure hope that Prez Trump might think to use his pardon powers for lots of other persons that he doesn't know that he may "have heard [were] treated unfairly" by our federal criminal justice system. So far, only a quite unrepresentative sample of four men have gotten clemency relief from this President.

April 13, 2018 at 02:06 PM | Permalink


I don't suppose Victor Rita (a veteran convicted of the same offense which has also been much criticized) will receive a pardon.

Posted by: anon | Apr 13, 2018 2:16:44 PM

@Doug "So far, only a quite unrepresentative sample of four men have gotten clemency relief from this President."

To be fair, four people is a tiny sample size. Can't draw any conclusion from it, although you sure seem eager enough to do so.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 13, 2018 2:23:42 PM

"Tiny sample size"? Shouldn't that be infinitesimal, as in a value approaching zero?

Posted by: anon | Apr 13, 2018 2:37:52 PM

"Can't draw any conclusion from it"

Can't tell at all really why he pardoned Arpaio, for instance. Be so very wrong to even consider why he might have done so. Seems a bit silly. Four times doing something at least starts to amount to some sort of pattern. The professor's comments are pretty mild anyhow. Not seeing much of a conclusion except for some implication of somewhat ad hoc, from the gut decision-making.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 13, 2018 2:54:09 PM

I'm comparing all your castigating posts about BHO's clemency efforts with this post. Why did you hate Obama?

Posted by: whatever | Apr 13, 2018 5:01:38 PM

No conclusions to be reached from the fact that 2 of the 4 are pardoned for obstruction of justice?

Seems pretty clear to me this was just a 'screw you' to the FBI, given that he didn't seem to know much about the case.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 13, 2018 5:52:39 PM

Judith Miller, who was a key witness against Libby, now thinks that Patrick Fitzgerald led her to give testimony that was false, although she thought it was true at the time. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/04/18/judith_miller_recants_wheres_the_media_126289.html So this particular pardon appears to be overdue. That said, Trump could easily have sleazy reasons for doing it.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Apr 13, 2018 9:34:31 PM

This always seemed like a BS prosecution to me.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 14, 2018 10:28:52 AM

Whatever, There were significant flaws in President Obama's clemency effort and his criminal justice legacy.

For the first five years of the Obama administration, the federal prison population increased every year till it reached an all time high of 219,298.

In 2014 they initiated clemency project 2014 and stated that there would probably be 10,000 or more commutations. When Obama left office he had granted a little over 1,700, denied over 18,000, closed without comment over 4,000 and left 8,000 with no action at all.

If you're interested, here are a couple of links.
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2961462 and https://www.lifeforpot.com/clemency-2014.html

Posted by: beth | Apr 14, 2018 12:47:45 PM

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