Letters to Judge Defend and Denounce Libby
WASHINGTON, June 5 — Scooter Libby is a patriot and a wonderful family man. He is a criminal who should go to prison. He is a man who may have done something wrong, but he is a good man at heart.
These are the portraits that emerged from scores of letters sent to Judge Reggie B. Walton before I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s sentencing in Federal Court today. Most of the letters were typed, but a few were scrawled by hand.
They came from people whose names are instantly recognizable across the country, from people who are widely known in Washington but way below the radar outside the Beltway, and from people unknown outside their own neighborhoods.
“A tireless, honorable, selfless human being,” former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld wrote. “Our country has been fortunate to have had his service.”
Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger said he was “deeply impressed by his dedication, seriousness, patriotism and essential decency.”
But Mr. Kissinger went on to say, “I would never have associated the actions for which he was convicted with his character.” Having served in the White House, Mr. Kissinger added, “I have seen how difficult it sometimes is to recall precisely a particular sequence of events. This does not justify the action, but it may help you to consider mitigating circumstances.”
The jury, of course, rejected Mr. Libby’s defense team’s claims that memory loss and the overwhelming burden of important events caused him to be less than accurate in his accounts to investigators. Some ordinary citizens also rejected those claims.
“I have no doubt that President Bush will pardon Mr. Libby as one of his final acts before, thankfully, he rides off into the sunset,” wrote a person who wanted to be known only as “An Angry Citizen.” Until then, the angry citizen said, Mr. Libby should go to jail “as soon as possible and for as long as possible.”
Another writer with a nonfamous name had a similar view. “Due to the crimes for which he was convicted, we may never know of the more substantial criminal activities for which he served as a firewall,” this writer declared.
“Put Scooter in jail!” another wrote. “He is a criminal and deserves no special treatment.”
But far more letters were like the one from a writer who described Mr. Libby as a patriot but not a partisan, a man who, unlike some others in Washington, “never seems to take any pleasure in the misfortunes of others,” a man who has given “extraordinary and selfless public service” and deserves leniency, not least because of the punishment he has already endured.