Bush bewahrt Spindoktor vor Gef�ngnis

--- Bush hat mit Lewis Libby einen seiner untergebensten Diener in der CIA-Aff�re rund um Judy Miller einfach mal freigeboxt, was Medien wie die New York Times wenig erfreut aufnehmen:
President Bush spared I. Lewis Libby Jr. from prison Monday, commuting his two-and-a-half-year sentence while leaving intact his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the C.I.A. leak case. Mr. Bush�s action, announced hours after a panel of judges ruled that Mr. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney�s former chief of staff, could not put off serving his sentence while he appealed his conviction, came as a surprise to all but a few members of the president�s inner circle. It reignited the passions that have surrounded the case from the beginning. The commutation brought immediate praise from conservatives, who hailed it as a courageous step to avert a miscarriage of justice, and condemnation from Democrats, who said it showed a lack of accountability and respect for the law. The president portrayed his commutation of the sentence, which fell short of a pardon and still requires Mr. Libby to pay a $250,000 fine and be on probation for two years, as a carefully considered compromise. �I respect the jury�s verdict,� Mr. Bush said in a statement. �But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.� ... The action drew a sharp response from Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the case, in which Mr. Libby was accused of lying to investigators looking into the leak of a C.I.A. operative�s identity. ... �In this case an experienced federal judge considered extensive argument from the parties and then imposed a sentence consistent with the applicable laws,� Mr. Fitzgerald said in a statement. �It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals.� ... Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, acknowledged that the president had acted within his powers. But Mr. Leahy said: �Accountability has been in short supply in the Bush administration, and this commutation fits that pattern. It is emblematic of a White House that sees itself as being above the law.�

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