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Libby request for prison delay pending appeal rejected

[JURIST] A US district judge Thursday rejected a request [JURIST report] by former US vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] that his prison sentence [JURIST report] for blocking the probe into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity be delayed pending appeal. Libby's lawyers had argued that because his Justice Department superiors recused themselves from the investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official profile] did not have the authority to bring charges. In his ruling, Judge Reggie B. Walton [official website] said that without the Special Prosecutor, the only other person who could investigate the actions of the White House would be someone within the White House itself. Walton also rejected an amicus curiae argument from a dozen prominent legal scholars [JURIST report] who said that Fitzgerald was given an unconstitutional amount of unsupervised power.

Since reaching his decision to sentence Libby to two and a half years in prison, slightly shorter than the 3 months recommended by Fitzgerald [JURIST report], Walton said that he has received a number of harassing and threatening letters and phone calls, but these were not taken into his consideration when he ruled against delaying Libby's sentence. Many conservatives have called for President George W. Bush to grant Libby a full pardon. AP has more.

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