The next step in the process is for Libby’s defense team to petition Judge Walton to allow Libby to stay out of jail pending appeal. A ruling on that issue will come next week. Tom Maguire guesses that “Walton will send Libby to the slammer, which seems to mean he would report in 45-60 days.” That would fit with Walton’s history of being unfair to the defense.
Libby almost certainly violated the law by being less-than-forthcoming in what he told investigators, but his crime is being absurdly trumped-up. Walton gave Libby almost all the jail-time that Fitzgerald suggested, and Fitzgerald’s sentencing brief was based on the dubious premise that the IIPA was violated. If he goes to jail, he deserves, at minimum, a pardon midway through his sentence. (What he really deserves is probation, the sentence that the defense requested, but the power of the pardon is too blunt an instrument to achieve that.) He’ll be halfway through his sentence (assuming Walton sends him to jail) in November 2008; don’t be surprised if he’s pardoned then, just after the general election. (Not that I would have a problem with him being pardoned sooner, especially given the way Sandy Berger has been treated. I’m not sure that this is likely to become all that politically significant in the election, anyway.)
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