President Donald Trump has pardoned former Cheney aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of convictions related to his 2007 trial, the White House said Friday.
Libby was the only individual charged in the investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak in 2003. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald learned early on in his investigation that the leak had come from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a critic of the war in Iraq. Armitage faced no consequences for his disclosure, yet Fitzgerald charged Libby with making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice. After being found guilty, Libby was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and community service.
President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s prison sentence in 2007, but did not issue a full pardon. As a result, Libby was forced to pay the penalty and perform the community service.
“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,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press release. “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.'”
In a Tweet, Republican Congressman Liz Cheney of Wyoming said, “Scooter Libby is a good, honorable, and decent man who was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct and a miscarriage of justice. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for righting a terrible wrong, and delivering the full pardon Scooter deserved.”