Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, will have to report to prison in six to eight weeks unless his lawyers persuade an appeals court to let him remain free.
Conservatives have pressured President George W. Bush to pardon Libby before he serves any time in prison and Thursday’s decision could increase that pressure. But a White House spokesman said the president is not going to intervene for now.
Libby was found guilty in March of obstructing an investigation into who blew the cover of a CIA analyst whose husband criticized the Iraq war.
Libby’s lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton that he should remain free because his verdict might be overturned during the appeals process.
They plan to argue on appeal that the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, was improperly appointed and that Walton should not have excluded witnesses and classified material Libby had hoped to use in his defense.