Fitzgerald Puts Cheney in the Middle of Plame Leak, While Urging up to Three Years for Libby

25 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Fitzgerald Puts Cheney in the Middle of Plame Leak, While Urging up to Three Years for Libby</h1><p>May 25 (LPAC)--In a sentencing memorandum submitted to a federal judge today, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald recommended a sentence of 30 to 37 months for Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, following Libby's conviction of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame Wilson leak case. Fitzgerald's memorandum also makes it clear that Cheney himself played a central role regarding Libby's illegal actions.</p><p>Indeed, Fitzgerald all but accuses Cheney of being a co-conspirator with Libby in both the illegal leaking of Mrs. Wilson's CIA affiliation, and in Libby's subsequent obstruction of Fitzgerald's investigation. For example, Fitzgerald positions Cheney right in the middle of the conspiracy to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson through Cheney's and Libby's hinting to reporters that Wilson's trip to Africa to investigate the Niger uranium claim was a boondoggle organized by Wilson's CIA-officer wife; Fitzgerald declares that "there was an indication from Mr. Libby that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President."</p><p>In summarizing Libby's conduct after the investigation of the disclosures began, Fitzgerald states: "He lied about when he learned of Ms. Wilson's CIA employment, about how he learned of her CIA employment, about who he told of her CIA employment, and about what he said when he disclosed it."</p><p>But in summarizing the evidence presented at trial, Fitzgerald points out that Libby learned -- in fact <em>first</em> learned -- about Ms. Wilson's CIA employment "directly from the Vice President." Then, once the investigation began, "Mr. Libby kept the Vice President apprised of his shifting accounts of how he claimed to have learned about Ms. Wilson's CIA employment," by inventing conversations that never happened, and lying about other conversations.</p><p>And then, Fitzgerald notes ironically that Libby, who otherwise claimed to have an extremely poor memory, "claimed to have a clear memory that the only topic he did not discuss with the Vice President in the aftermath of the Wilson Op Ed was Ms. Wilson's CIA employment."</p><p>Fitzgerald dismisses out of hand the arguments being made by Libby's backers that the investigation of the leak and the prosecution of Libby was "politically motivated," or that Libby should not have been prosecuted for perjury and obstruction of justice because no charges were ever brought regarding the leak itself. Fitzgerald recommends a term of imprisonment of 30 to 37 months, which is on the high end of what was expected by observers familiar with federal sentencing guidelines. Libby's sentencing is set for June 5; Cheney's is not yet scheduled.</p></div></body>