Making It Up As They Go Along
We have elites running this country who are not only ruthlessly partisan and selfish, but also completely ignorant about the government they're running. Bush commuted Scooter Libby's jail sentence but not the 2 years' probation. Turns out that you can't serve probation in a federal case under the statute unless jail time has been served. So Bush inadvertently wiped out the probation as well. Only he said he didn't in his statments, so the judge doesn't know what to do and is hauling everyone back into court (h/t pontificator):
President Bush spared former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from prison, and his clemency order may wipe out Libby's 2-year probation as well, the trial judge told lawyers Tuesday.
A conviction remains on Scooter Libby's record, and he must still pay a $250,000 fine.
Strictly interpreted, the statute authorizing probation indicates that supervised release "should occur only after the defendant has already served a term of imprisonment," U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton wrote.
Walton ordered lawyers to weigh in with their arguments on the matter by Monday.
So now Judge Walton and Fitzgerald, in open court, get to question the ruling and how to proceed. And if Bush's lawyers file a friend of the court brief to get their way, they can be fully questioned by both the prosecutor and the judge. Walton must not be happy with this turn of events, as would anyone who's authority is usurped. So there'll be a showdown some time next week.
Even when they do incredible wrongs, they can't get it right.
If you want to cringe, you should also watch Bush's first public statement about the commutation. First of all, he looks drunk and incoherent. Second of all, this didn't happen until nearly 24 hours after the order and in response to a question. President Ford pardoned Nixon and went right on television to explain to the nation why. This guy hides behind a press release. Third, he says that he respects the verdict, just not enough to allow for any kind of sentence and not enough to actually know the statute.
Disgusting, hilarious and sad. All at once.