Pardon Libby, says DeLay

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) Friday said President Bush should pardon Lewis “Scooter” Libby, citing both the involvement of other administration officials in the case and the “extraordinary investigatory pressure” under which Libby was placed.

“In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers gave our chief executive the authority to issue pardons in order to better balance the scales of justice,” DeLay said in a statement posted to his website, “I’m confident that George Bush is the type of president who knows that a pardon in this case will not subvert justice but rather protect it.”

DeLay argued that by the time Libby was charged, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had admitted to telling reporters the name of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. The former majority leader said prosecutors should have dropped the case against Libby then. He also argued that when Armitage leaked her name, Plame no longer was undercover, “but was sitting behind a desk at the CIA’s headquarters in the fashionable Washington suburb of McLean, Va.”

“Justice is supposed to be blind, but not deaf as well,” DeLay said.

He added, “[I] wasn’t a juror and I didn’t hear all the evidence that was presented. The jurors finally reached a verdict after lengthy and probably thoughtful deliberations. … But it seems to me that the prosecution itself and the indictment have badly missed the mark in terms of the administration of true justice.”

DeLay said a Libby pardon would differ greatly from the infamous pardon of Marc Rich, which was viewed as a political payback for his wife Denise’s fundraising efforts.

“No one argues that the Rich prosecution was political or that Rich’s conviction was for some crime other than the one being investigated,” he said. “With the Rich pardon, Clinton actually undermined rather than protected the pursuit of justice.”

On Tuesday, Libby was convicted of perjury, making a false statement and obstruction of justice. He could face from one to three years in federal prison.