Jury convicts former aide to Dick Cheney in Plame case

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A U.S. jury has found Lewis 'Scooter' Libby guilty of four counts of obstructing justice, lying and perjury during the investigation into the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Libby faces up to 30 years in prison with the conviction announced at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Sentencing for the guilty verdicts are expected to be handed down on June 5. The defense lawyer for Libby says he will ask for a new trial or an appeal.

Once the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, Libby resigned in October 2005 after charges were brought against him by Patrick Fitzgerald over the Plame affair. The conviction is vindication for the role played by special prosecutor Fitzgerald, who some believed went too far by bringing charges against Libby when no indictments were made stemming from the original offense investigated.

"It’s sad that we had a situation where a high-level official person who worked in the office of the vice president obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that it had not happened, but it did." said Fitzgerald according to MSNBC. What effect the verdict will have on the United States Congress and the credibility of the Bush administration's run-up to the war in Iraq is unclear.

The conviction came after what Fitzgerald originally alleged, by way of a baseball analogy, was the equivalent of Libby "throwing sand in the face of an umpire."

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