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Letters to Reggie

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Al Kamen reported earlier this week that Bill Jeffress is soliciting letters of support in anticipation of Scooter Libby's sentencing hearing on June 5 (thanks to joejoejoe for the heads up).

Time for fans and friends of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to step up and make sure District Judge Reggie B. Walton doesn't hammer him at sentencing on June 5 for perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame investigation.

"When a person is about to be sentenced in federal court," Libby's lawyer, William Jeffress, writes in a memo to anyone interested, "it is proper and very common for the judge to receive letters from friends of the accused attesting to his character, integrity, and service to his country, community and family."

"Many friends and admirers of Scooter Libby have asked how they may submit letters of this kind" prior to sentencing, Jeffress relates. Libby, under federal guidelines, might get 18 months to three years in prison, but Walton could alter that considerably. [my emphasis]

Kamen has a bit of fun with Jeffress' instructions.

"Identify yourself in the . . . opening paragraph," Jeffress advises, and give "your personal background." For example, "president," "vice president" and so on. "This is essential if the judge is to give your observations the weight they deserve." So add "former governor of Texas," "Decider," "Uniter," "former secretary of defense" and so on.

[snip]

"It is acceptable . . . to express a view that Scooter's conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice is inconsistent with your knowledge of his character and integrity," Jeffress writes. Hitting the "underline" key again, he continues: "It is not acceptable, however, to criticize the jury, the prosecutors, or the court, or to denigrate any person involved in the process including the witnesses."

So no cheap shots at Tim Russert, Judy Miller or the white knight, Patrick Fitzgerald. Jeffress says "do not worry about length, so long as your letter is specific." We respectfully demur. Always worry about length. We'd guess Walton would prefer you write it tight, write it active, cut adverbs, no droning on and on. Deadline's May 1.

But I suspect we could have even more fun. Such as:

Dear Judge Walton:

If possible, could you please ensure Scooter Libby is done with his punishment by mid-June? You see, we've got the next war to lie the American public into, and we could sure use Libby's special skills.

Yours, Marty Peretz

Or: 

Dear Reggie:

You'd make a nice Aspen, you know.

Love, Judy

Or:

Reggie, let me put it to you straight. I've got a cloud over my head and a bad temper.

Dick 

It was all I could do to avoid a joke about quail hunting in that last one…and I did contemplate one from the girl inside the bear cage, but thought better of it. Anyway–try your hand in the comments–it's fun!

While we're talking about letters, let me remind you of a post my blogmate Kagro X did in December, when Congressman Bob Ney was being sentenced.  He noted that this letter-writing thing can be a two-way street.

Would you like to help give Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle a clear picture of the kind of person Bob is? The bribes contributions he has taken made, and the rightful scorn support that he continues to enjoy from his friends and others in the community?

Judge Huvelle sits on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. They have an address, and mailboxes, and everything. You could look it up!

When writing, be sure to mention — as part of your "clear picture of the kind of person Bob is — how much you appreciated the fact that Ney refused to resign even after entering his guilty plea, and what a rare pleasure it was having his hubris force us to continue to pay him his Congressional salary for two additional months.

The government has recommended Ney be sentenced to 27 months in prison.

I recommend tacking on an extra two.

And lo and behold, when Judge Huvelle got around to sentencing Ney, she talked a lot about betraying the public trust and tacked on not two, but three extra months (apparently nine people wrote in asking for a tougher sentence). As Kagro X noted, you could look up all the details you need to write a letter.

One more thing: I'd go with Kamen on this one, not Jeffress. If we know anything about Judge Walton from the trial, it's that few things piss him off more than wasting his time or the government's money. So keep it short.

But then, it doesn't take long to explain how you feel about someone who betrays our national security and the public trust, does it?

Update: Words of wisdom downstairs from Christy:

And it is worth a mention that if someone were contemplatng an actual letter to Judge Reggie, he’s quite the decorum sort of guy and very much a stickler for the facts asserted being true. Just so you know.

Update 2: More words of wisdom, this time from looseheadprop (edited for,um, because it's LHP):

If you want to write letters urging Judge Walton to throw the book at Scooter,

The correct term is “upward departure from the range specified in the Sentencing Guidelines.”

You can send your letter to Judge Walton, but you should specify on the envelope that it relates to the sentencing of I. Lewis Libby.

This way they can sort the Judge’s regular mail out from the Libby Letters and the Judge’s regular business will not be disturbed.

I would not want to see you guys create havoc in his chambers.

So, if you mail, try putting

“In re sentencing of I Lewis Libby”

In the lower lefthand corner of front of the envelope. By nice to the hardworking folks in Judge Walton’s chambers.

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