The D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated Former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, to the bar.
Libby was previously convicted of lying in relation to the Valerie Plame scandal and can now freely practice law again. He was disbarred in the District of Columbia in 2008.
According to the National Law Journal, Libby entered the courtroom with 11 letters of support from a federal appeals judge and other legal dignitaries.
Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit wrote that Libby had a “reputation as a skilled and ethical government official.”
Disciplinary officials noted in their Sept. 23 report about Libby that he was found to be “forthright, candid, present, and recognized his situation with grace.”
Libby requested over the summer that the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstate him to the D.C. Bar. On Thursday, exactly 11 years to the day following arraignment, he the court granted his request.
Washington D.C.-based former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova believes the Libby decision is a “terrible blow” to FBI Director James Comey, who announced Sunday that the agency had no new conclusions on Hillary Clinton and her private server from the 650,000 new emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
“Scooter Libby was restored to the practice of law by the DC court of appeals because they believed that Scooter Libby presented evidence that his original trial had been corrupted by false testimony. And that false testimony was coerced by Jim Comey’s friend Patrick Fitzgerald and Comey was part of the team to destroy the vice president of the United States and it didn’t happen,” DiGenova said.
He added,” It’s such a smack in the face to Jim Comey. Comey and Fitzgerald tried to frame Scooter Libby, and they did, but then they didn’t get it done. And then of course that idiot George W. Bush didn’t give him a pardon he only commuted his sentence.”
A federal jury in D.C. found Libby guilty of lying and obstructing an investigation in relation to the CIA leak case of Plame’s identity. In June 2007, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton slapped Libby with a sentenced of 30 months of prison and a $250,000 fine as well as community service. President George W. Bush later commuted the prison time calling it “excessive.”
William Jeffress Jr. of Baker Botts, Libby’s attorney, told National Law Journal that Libby was able to apply for reinstatement five years ago, but decided one year ago that last summer was more appropriate.
In Libby’s June 2 petition for reinstatement to the D.C. Bar, he argued his innocence. Jeffress wrote that Libby understood the gravity of the offenses he was convicted of but also recognized the seriousness of one’s misconduct is a precursor to reinstatement in D.C.
Jeffress noted, however, that during the Plame investigation Libby gave the FBI and grand jury “his honest recollection of events.”
“In 20 years of private practice and 12 years of public service before his indictment and conviction in a politically-charged case, Mr. Libby had an unblemished record of outstanding service to clients, the profession, and the nation,” Jeffress wrote. “He is eligible and well qualified to be reinstated as a member of the D.C. Bar.”