Moment of Truth
Having watched Judge Walton get seriously angry during sentencing at young African American men he accused of living in self-imposed chains, I have to say I'd be really surprised if he let rich, privileged Scooter Libby completely escape a future in an orange jumpsuit. John Dean sounds about right:
How long a sentence is Judge Walton likely to impose? On May 25, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald filed the Government's Sentencing Memorandum asking Judge Walton to sentence Libby in the range of "30 to 37 months." Criminal defense attorneys with whom I have spoken expect that Judge Walton will choose a sentence of roughly 30 months (two-and-a-half years), and to give Libby at most a couple of days to get his affairs in order before surrendering to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
No doubt, the Bush White House has been making similar calculations. Thus, they are approaching a moment of truth. There are only three real insiders here: Bush, Cheney and Libby. However, it appears that the outsiders have looked at the situation, and acted to try to improve it. And as long as they are outsiders, they can do so without criminal exposure.
Dean goes on to point out that if Libby were acting simply on his own behalf, a pardon wouldn't be a problem. But since Fitzgerald has already said that a "cloud" still hovers over Shooter, and should he be lobbying for a pardon, it would potentially further a conspiracy to obstruct justice. Not that I imagine anyone involved cares much at this moment in time, but it could have implications on down the line.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the Dean article has to do with recently announced Presidential candidate Fred Thompson, who has been publicly defending Libby:
Nonetheless, based on his two-plus years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Thompson informed the audience, "In no other prosecutor's office in the country would a case like this one have been brought." Apparently, other prosecutors tolerate perjury and obstruction of justice. In addition, later in his speech, Thompson explained, "I have called for a pardon for Scooter Libby. When you rectify an injustice using the provisions of the law, just as when you reverse an erroneous court decision, you are not disregarding the rule of law, you are enforcing and protecting it."
The Libby defense fund was certainly not short on cash. Was Thompson paid for his Libby lobbying efforts? Since Mark Corallo was formerly the defense fund's spokesman and is now Thompson's press secretary, he's certainly in a position to know. Let's hope somebody asks.
(Marcy and I are going to be in DC for the sentencing and we'll be liveblogging. Please join us here on Tuesday, June 5.)
Update: Josh Marshall says Thompson was not being paid to defend Scooter. He's evidently trying to ride in on a white horse and tie himself to as many BushCo. scandals as possible. Shrewd.
And Jeralyn offers her prediction regarding sentencing.