[JURIST] Observers say President Bush could issue a pardon for former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis Scooter Libby [defense profile] following last weeks revelation that Karl Rove [official profile], Bush's top political advisor, will not face criminal charges [JURIST report] in the three-year investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name [JURIST news archive]. This leaves Libby the only person indicted by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the scandal. Experts speculate that the timing of a presidential pardon [JURIST backgrounder; Wikipedia backgrounder] will be governed by whether the Republicans retain control of Congress in the mid-term elections, while others believe he will wait until his last days to issue the pardon, a tactic employed by many former Presidents to avert political consequences.
Rove, who has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges of obstruction of justice and perjury [indictment, PDF; JURIST report], requested the release of confidential information, but the petition was rejected [JURIST report] by a federal judge earlier this month. Bush could be motivated to pardon Libby to avoid further disclosures, such as when Libby told a federal grand jury that Bush authorized a leak [JURIST report] of intelligence information on Iraq, and to prevent Vice-President Cheney from having to testify [JURIST report] at a trial. Newsday has more.