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Bush commutes Libby sentence

President Bush commuted Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison sentence. Libby, formerly the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice. He had lied about his role in the investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative, targeted by the White House because her husband, Joe Wilson, questioned the Bush administration’s case for the Iraq war. Libby’s bid to stay out of jail while he appealed the sentence failed Monday and within hours, Bush commuted the 30 months but left in place a $250,000 fine. “My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby,” Bush said in a statement. “The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.” Libby is Jewish, and a significant portion of those who had pleaded with the judge for a lenient sentence are leaders in Washington’s Middle East policy community. Also pleading on his behalf was Natan Sharansky, the former Israeli Cabinet minister and prisoner of the Soviet gulag.