As I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's attorneys began mapping his appeals yesterday, legal experts predicted that Vice President Cheney's former top aide has an excellent chance of avoiding prison time for his perjury convictions until late 2008, perhaps until after the presidential election.Libby is now sipping pink daquiris in his local Country Club, while talking to his stockbrokers about retirement options and lining up media engagements, including a book deal with a company owned by Rupert Murdoch. When asked about the latest reports, President Bush cocked a hand to one ear and pretended to be a little deaf: "Pardonez?" he quipped with his trademark smirk.
Libby was convicted Tuesday of four felony counts of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice. He faces a likely prison term of 1 1/2 to three years [pffwwhhaaaat??!!] when he is sentenced June 5 for concealing his role in the leak of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity to the media.
But if presiding federal judge Reggie B. Walton allows Libby to put off reporting to prison while he appeals his conviction, as expected, it could take until January 2009 for Libby's lawyers to exhaust his appeals, which could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, prominent Republicans pledged yesterday to press on with their multimillion-dollar fundraising effort on Libby's behalf. The Libby Legal Defense Trust already has raised $3.5 million to $4 million to pay for legal bills, according to a source familiar with the operations of the private organization, which is not required by law to disclose its donors.The system is fucked. Fix it, America.
Among the group's advisory committee members are former energy secretary Spencer Abraham, former presidential candidate and publisher Steve Forbes, former vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, former U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese III and former CIA director R. James Woolsey.