WASHINGTON (CNN) — I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was disbarred from practicing law in the nation’s capital on Thursday.
The former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney was convicted last year of lying to a grand jury and federal agents probing the leak of the identity of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame Wilson.
“When a member of the Bar is convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, disbarment is mandatory,” the District of Columbia Court of Appeals wrote in its opinion, which is posted on its Web site.
Last July, a court sentenced Libby to a 30-month prison term. President Bush later commuted Libby’s sentence, calling it “excessive.”
Unlike a presidential pardon which wipes a person’s crimes off the books, Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence only means that he does not have to serve the prison sentence. He is still considered guilty of the crime he was convicted.
The president stopped short of an outright pardon, noting that “our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth.”
Excuse me for just a moment…..
Although the White House has declined to say whether Bush might go beyond [Bush’s] decision to commute Libby’s jail time, both Bush and Cheney have expressed strong support for Libby.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told CNN a presidential pardon could indeed open the door for Libby to try to regain his license to practice law.
Sloan’s group is pursuing a civil suit on behalf of Plame Wilson, claiming damage from White House disclosures of her identity and connection to the CIA.
Although the suit has been rejected by a federal court, the group Friday will file a brief ahead of an appeals argument May 9.
Case history dating back to the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s could affect Libby’s prospects for regaining his law license if he is granted a full pardon.