If there's a way to screw something up, you know that George W. Bush will find it. When the Commuter Guy threw out Scooter's prison time, but left intact the two years of probation, he failed to consider the fact that the applicable law mandates that probation is what happens after you actually serve some prison time!
But it's only the law. The pResident can take care of that, right?
So why is Judge Walton -- the judge who Bush said gave Libby an "excessive" and "severe" punishment -- being such a picky stickler about a little thing like the rule of law? (Court Order pdf) Why is the Judge making Libby's lawyers (and Patrick Fitzgerald) work during the holidays?
The federal judge who sentenced former vice presidential aide I. Lewis Libby for lying to federal investigators and a grand jury on Tuesday raised the possibility that Libby might not have to serve two years on "supervised release" after all. In a two-page order (found here), U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton told lawyers on both sides to file briefs on the issue by Monday. . .
The judge said in his order: "Strictly construed, the statute authorizing the imposition of supervised release indicates that such release should occur only after the defendant has already served a term of imprisonment....It is therefore unclear how [the statute] should be interpreted in unusual circumstances such as these."
Lawyers were ordered to file papers by Monday on "whether the defendant should be required to report to the Probation Office immediately, whether he should be allowed to remain free of supervision until some later, more appropriate time, or, indeed, whether the plain meaning of [the statute] precludes the application of a term of supervised release altogether now that the prison sentence has been commuted."
Judge Walton appears to be seriously pissed. Scroll down in this WSJ article for insight into Judge Walton's temperment during the Libby case. Check out his snarky footnote from the Court Order:
If either party believes that it would be helpful to solicit clarification from the White House regarding the President's position on the proper interpretation of Sec 3583 in light of its Grant of Executive Clemency, they are encouraged to do so.
I say, bring on the high drama! This story is so not going away. If Bush is forced to give Libby a full pardon, Scooter will NOT be permitted to take the Fifth when Congress hauls his ass onto the hot seat.
Hat tip to pontificator at dkos -- check out the discussion.
Scooter Libby Bush Commutes Libby Judge Walton Politics Probation Fitzgerald News CIA Leak Plamegate Pardon