Libby prosecutor says sentence not 'excessive' Jeannie Shawl at 8:31 AM ET
[JURIST] US Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] has questioned President Bush's classification of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's 30-month sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice as "excessive" [statement], saying Monday that Libby's sentence "was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country." Bush's comment accompanied his commutation of Libby's prison sentence [clemency grant; JURIST report]; Bush did not pardon Libby and left his $250,000 fine and court-ordered two years of supervised release intact. In a statement [E&P report] Monday, Fitzgerald said:
We fully recognize that the Constitution provides that commutation decisions are a matter of presidential prerogative and we do not comment on the exercise of that prerogative.
We comment only on the statement in which the President termed the sentence imposed by the judge as 'excessive.' The sentence in this case was imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country. In this case, an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws. It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals. That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing.
Fitzgerald noted that "Mr. Libby remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies," and said that his office "will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process."
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