President Donald Trump pardoned former Vice President Dick Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby on Friday.
Libby was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI in 2007 stemming from a probe into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, who had been working undercover overseas. Plame was married to Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador and a critic of the George W. Bush administration’s case for war in Iraq.
While Libby was never charged with leaking Plame’s name to the press, he was indicted in 2005 and sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison and a $250,000 fine in 2007. After the sentencing, Cheney asked Bush to pardon Libby, but Bush would only grant him a commutation, which allowed him to avoid jail time.
In a statement Friday Trump said he had “heard” that Libby had been treated unfairly.
“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump said, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”
Read the full statement below:
“Today, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) to I. “Scooter” Lewis Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, for convictions stemming from a 2007 trial. President George W. Bush commuted Mr. Libby’s sentence shortly after his conviction. Mr. Libby, nevertheless, paid a $250,000 fine, performed 400 hours of community service, and served two years of probation.
“In 2015, one of the key witnesses against Mr. Libby recanted her testimony, stating publicly that she believes the prosecutor withheld relevant information from her during interviews that would have altered significantly what she said. The next year, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated Mr. Libby to the bar, reauthorizing him to practice law. The Court agreed with the District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel, who stated that Mr. Libby had presented “credible evidence” in support of his innocence, including evidence that a key prosecution witness had “changed her recollection of the events in question.
“Before his conviction, Mr. Libby had rendered more than a decade of honorable service to the Nation as a public servant at the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the White House. His record since his conviction is similarly unblemished, and he continues to be held in high regard by his colleagues and peers.
“In light of these facts, the President believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon. “I don’t know Mr. Libby,” said President Trump, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”