LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – President George W. Bush granted “Scoot…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – President George W. Bush granted “Scooter” Libby his release from prison in the CIA leak case, Bloombergs report – LawFuel’s lead story.

Bush acted after a U.S. appellate court today refused to let Libby, 56, stay free during his appeal. Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying to investigators probing the 2003 leak of Central Intelligence Agency official Valerie Plame’s identity. Libby’s backers had argued for a pardon.

“My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby,” Bush said in a statement. “The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting.”

The president’s action means that even though Libby avoids prison, his conviction stands, and he is still required to pay the $250,000 fine ordered by a federal judge. He can continue to appeal his conviction and fine.

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