Thursday, June 28, 2007

Libby Defenders

Mark Kleiman makes a very good observation about the motives and principals of those who are defending Scooter Libby and calling for his pardon.

If you had any doubt that the fuss about Libby's sentence is largely a matter of Washington insiders, political and journalistic, rallying to the defense of one of their own, consider the contrasting silence about the Siegelman case. A highly popular Democratic Governor of Alabama was indicted by a highly political U.S. Attorney's office, which is now seeking a thirty-year sentence. He was convicted of appointing someone to a state board that the same man had been appointed to by three previous governors, in return for a contribution in support of a referendum campaign. If that's a crime, then what are we to say about the system of rewarding campaign contributors with plum Ambassadorships?

Look into the Siegelman case in more detail and the contrast becomes much starker. Our national defenders of Scooter Libby are ready to declare Patrick Fitzgerald to be an out of control prosecutor. But consider this from the Siegelman case
But Siegelman's case differs from the usual pattern in some ways. For example, former Gov. Guy Hunt, a Republican, was found guilty in state court of personally pocketing $200,000. And state prosecutors sought probation, not jail time, in the Hunt case.

To support their call for the lengthy prison term for Siegelman, federal prosecutors gave Fuller a list of additional alleged illegal activities, including material from the counts on which the former governor had been acquitted by the jury.
So, to justify their call for a thirty-year sentence they made reference to the activities for which he was acquitted. This produces no outrage for a prosecution out of control. Can anyone seriously believe that the support of Scooter Libby is due to any principals based on law or justice?

I see now that Siegelman has been sentenced to seven years and four months. Sure makes Scooter's two years and six months seem outrageous, doesn't it?

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