WASHINGTON – Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said Friday he no longer plans to ask for a new trial in the CIA leak case but still expects to appeal his conviction.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted last month of lying and obstructing an investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
Requests for new trials are seldom granted. In documents filed in federal court Friday, Libby's lawyers said they will mount their arguments before an appeals court rather than asking for a new trial as they had planned.
During Libby's monthlong trial, attorneys disagreed with several of U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton's decisions, including allowing prosecutors to present evidence to the jury that Libby's defense team viewed as prejudicial.
Libby faces a likely sentencing range of one to three years in prison when he is sentenced June 5.
If attorneys can persuade Walton that they have a strong case on appeal, it could increase Libby's chances of remaining free while the appeal plays out. It would also give President Bush more time to consider a pardon before Libby must report to prison.
Libby is the highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since the Iran-Contra affair two decades ago.
Libby was convicted of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters regarding Plame. Plame was outed as a CIA officer in mid-2003 after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, began criticizing the Bush administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq.
No one was charged with the leak itself, including the initial source of the disclosure, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage