WASHINGTON Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted today of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters.
He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI.
Libby had little reaction to the verdict. He stood expressionless as the jury left the room.
The verdict was read on the 10th day of deliberations. Libby faces up to 25 years in prison, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he likely will receive far less.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered that a pre-sentencing report be completed by May 15. Judges use such reports to help determine sentences.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has led the leak investigation, said no additional charges would be filed. That means nobody will be charged with the leak, and Libby, who was not the source for the original column outing Plame, will be the only one to face trial.
Libby faced two counts of perjury, two counts of lying to the FBI and one count of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said he discussed Plame’s name with reporters and, fearing prosecution, made up a story to make those discussions seem innocuous.
Libby’s defense team said he learned about Plame from Cheney, forgot about it, then learned it again a month later from NBC newsman Tim Russert. Anything he told reporters about Plame, Libby said, was just chatter and rumors, not official government information.
Fitzgerald said that was a lie. But Libby’s defense team had argued that it would be unfair to convict Libby in a case where so many witnesses changed their stories or had memory problems.
Libby’s defense attorney, Theodore Wells, said he would ask the court for a new trial by April 13. Such requests are common following criminal convictions.
“Despite our disappointment in the jurors’ verdict, we believe in the American justice system, and we believe in the jury system,” Wells told reporters outside the federal courthouse. “We intend to file a motion for a new trial, and if that is denied, we will appeal the conviction. We have every confidence that ultimately Mr. Libby will be exonerated. ... We intend to keep fighting to establish his innocence.”
Libby will be allowed to remain free while awaiting sentencing, which is set for June 5.
As the verdicts were read, Libby’s wife choked out a sob and sank her head. Moments later, she embraced the defense attorneys.
The jury acquitted Libby of one count of lying to the FBI about his conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.