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Federal appeals court rejects Libby request for prison delay

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday unanimously denied [order, PDF] a motion by former US vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense website; JURIST news archive] to delay his prison sentence [JURIST report] pending appeal. The appeals court found that Libby did not demonstrate that his appeal raises a "substantial question." Libby, whose earlier request for a delay was rejected [JURIST reports] by the federal district court in June, may seek an intervention from the Supreme Court or receive a pardon from President Bush.

Libby's lawyers had argued that the conviction could likely be overturned on appeal because Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] did not have the authority to bring charges as Justice Department superiors had recused themselves from the investigation. Libby, the only official held legally responsible as a result of the probe into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity [JURIST news archive], was convicted [JURIST report] of perjury and obstruction of justice in March, and is expected to begin his 2 1/2-year prison sentence in the upcoming weeks. AP has more.

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