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Trump pardons "Scooter" Libby, former adviser to Dick Cheney

Last Updated Apr 13, 2018 5:18 PM EDT

President Trump has officially pardoned in full I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted in 2007 of perjury and obstruction of justice in a CIA leak case.

Libby was convicted in relation to the 2003 leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Former President George W. Bush commuted Libby's sentence in 2008, and Libby was spared jail time. But the conviction stayed on Libby's record, and he still had to pay a fine.

Mr. Trump explained his full pardon by saying he has heard for years "that he has been treated unfairly."

"I don't know Mr. Libby, but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly," Mr. Trump said in a statement issued by the White House. "Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life."

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, in the White House statement, explained that Libby had rendered more than a decade of service to the country, and since then his record has been "unblemished."

Kellyanne Conway, counsel to the president, explained to reporters earlier Friday that many believe Libby was the victim of a "special counsel run amock."

Some fear Mr. Trump's pardoning of Libby could be seen through the lens of the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to the Trump campaign. Multiple associates of Mr. Trump's campaign, including Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, have been charged in connection to that probe, which Mr. Trump has repeatedly called a "witch hunt."

Plame issued the following statement to CBS News:

"President Donald Trump has granted a pardon to I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby on the basis that he was "treated unfairly," Plame said in the statement. "That is simply false. Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in a fair trial. President George W. Bush closely reviewed the facts in the case at the behest of Vice President Dick Cheney, who urged a pardon. Both the president and the vice president willingly testified themselves. President Bush declined to issue a pardon, stating 'I respect the jury's verdict.' He added, 'And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable.' President's Trump's pardon is not based on the truth."

Patrick Fitzgerald, the former federal prosecutor in charge of the investigation of Plame's case which led to the prosecution and conviction of Cheney, gave this statement in his personal capacity.

"While the president has the constitutional power to pardon, the decision to do so in this case purports to be premised on the notion that Libby was an innocent man convicted on the basis of inaccurate testimony caused by the prosecution. That is false. ... Mr. Libby's conviction was based upon the testimony of multiple witnesses, including the grand jury testimony of Mr. Libby himself, as well as numerous documents."

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.