WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff, will serve no prison time for lying and obstructing justice. President Bush's decision to commute Libby's two-and-a-half year sentence has set off a wave of criticism. Libby is and will remain a free man, after his two-and-a-half year prison term was commuted by President Bush. But Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff remains a convicted felon and will still have to pay a $250,000 fine. American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Norman Ornstein said, "He did not pardon Scooter Libby, he commuted the sentence. That means Scooter Libby will still face very significant pain and punishment." In a statement the president said he respected the jury's verdict but, "I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive." It was after a busy day in Kennebunkport, Maine with Russian President Putin that Bush dropped the political bombshell. Republicans praised the commutation, democrats condemned it. Sen. Charles Schumer said, "The commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence is both sad and predictable because this administration has always held itself above the law." In March, Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation into who leaked a CIA operative's name to the press. Former ambassador Joe Wilson, who's wife Valerie Plame was outed in the original leak, blasted the president's action Monday night on ABC radio. Wilson said, "He is an accessory to the obstruction of justice in this commutation of the sentence. He, himself, is now under a cloud." Scooter Libby's family released a statement, expressing their gratitude for the president's decision and maintaining Libby's innocence.
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