President Bush commutes Lewis "Scooter" Libby

by Brian Mooar
NBC News

President Bush commuted the two and a half prison sentence for former White House Official Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the CIA leak case.

The President says the sentence was too harsh but vacationing democrats are calling this a misuse of presidential power.

President Bush commuted the prison sentence of former White House Official Lewis Scooter Libby who faced two and a half years behind bars for lying in the CIA leak case.

The President stopped short of a full pardon leaving the conviction and a quarter million dollar fine intact.

In a written statement the President said, "I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."

Vacationing democrats swiftly condemned the decision.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it "disgraceful."

The D.C. Court of Appeals on Monday rejected Libby's request to remain on bail while he appealed his convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Libby, the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney, was convicted of lying to federal officials investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name to the media.

That officer, Valerie Plame Wilson, is the wife of ambassador Joe Wilson.

An outspoken bush critic who questioned the administrations reasons for going to war.

Libby will still have to serve a two-year probation and pay a quarter million dollar fine, and will be barred from practicing law again.

President Bush says that's punishment enough.