Ok, so I'll say it, since no one else (not even the good folks at National Review) will: no fair-minded judge could possibly have sentenced Scotter Libby to 30 months in prison.
On the basis of that sentence alone, I'm content to say that Libby is the victim of a partisan hack-job.
To make this clear, I'm going to go Dwight Schrute on you:
FACT: Libby never committed any crime at any time until he apparently lied about minor details of his conversations with reporters to the grand jury.
FACT: There was no "conspiracy" of any kind to out Valerie Plame, and the leak never came from Libby or anybody else in the administration, and at the time that Fitzgerald was questioning Libby, he KNEW that Libby wasn't the leaker-- so why was he asking Libby questions at all?
FACT: Fitzgerald never proved and never tried to prove that Valerie Plame was a covert agent or that there was otherwise anything illegal about revealing her name.
FACT: During the "liability" phase of the trial, Fitzgerald actively argued that whether Plame was or was not covert was irrelevant to the case, and therefore was allowed to withhold evidence that would have likely shown that she was NOT a covert agent, even though Libby asked for the information in order to defend himself.
FACT: During the sentencing phase of the trial, Fitzgerald argued that Valerie Wilson was covert, and that Libby should be sentenced as though he had revealed the name of a covert agent even though 1) Fitzgerald had never charged Libby with revealing the name of a covert agent; and 2) had argued successfully that her status as a covert agent was irrelevant and thereby avoided turning over information that Libby's team could have used to prove that she was not a covert agent; and 3) Libby had not been convicted of outing a covert agent.
I am astonished at Patrick Fitzgerald's audacity. I have practiced in front of federal courts in 8 states and the District of Columbia and I would never have had the sheer cojones to try to get court approval for such an obviously and ridiculously unfair and unjust result in my favor(clearly, I need to be more bold).
More astonishing is that the Judge in the case is enough of a partisan hack that he let Fitzgerald get away with this sort of obvious bait and switch technique. I can only hope that on appeal cooler heads will prevail. I hope they do, and I hope there's no need for a pardon. I need a reversal to restore my faith in the justice of the system.