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Libby supporters raise over $2 million for defense

[JURIST] I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile; JURIST news archive] supporters have raised more than $2 million for his legal defense in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive] since last fall, according to Barbara Comstock, a member of Libby's defense team. Supporters of Vice President Cheney's former aide have hosted several fundraisers, including one Tuesday evening, hosted by former Cheney spokeswoman Mary Matalin [Wikipedia profile], former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham [official profile], former Rep. Bob Livingston [Wikipedia profile] and oil industry executive and former Commerce Secretary Don Evans [official profile]. Former Sen. Fred Thompson [Wikipedia profile] hosted a similar fundraiser last month.

Libby has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to obstruction of justice and perjury charges [PDF indictment; JURIST report] in connection with the investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the media. Speculation that President Bush will pardon Libby [Newsday report] has increased following last week's revelation that Karl Rove [official profile], Bush's top political advisor, will not face criminal charges [JURIST report] in the three-year investigation. Political theorists 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. Bush could be motivated to pardon Libby to avoid disclosures of government documents and the possibility of Cheney testifying [JURIST report] at trial. AP has more.

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