WASHINGTON – Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby left a federal courtroom with his wife Tuesday after being sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $250,000 fine for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation.
Libby, departing in a car without commenting to reporters, didn't begin his prison sentence immediately. Judge Reggie B. Walton said he saw no reason to allow Libby to delay his prison time pending appeal and planned to rule later after reviewing written arguments.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide where Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, serves his sentence and set a reporting date.
Libby stood calmly before a packed courtroom when his sentencing was announced.
"People who occupy these types of positions, where they have the welfare and security of nation in their hands, have a special obligation to not do anything that might create a problem," U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said.
President Bush "felt terrible for the family" of Libby, upon hearing the sentence from White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and Counselor Dan Bartlett en route to Rostock, Germany, said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Bush said he would not intervene in the case now, Perino added.
Libby was convicted in March of lying and obstructing an investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
• Click here to read Libby's indictment. (FindLaw)
The highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since the Iran-Contra affair, Libby has steadfastly maintained his innocence.
"It is respectfully my hope that the court will consider, along with the jury verdict, my whole life," Libby said in brief remarks to the judge.
Sitting with Libby's wife Harriet Grant during the sentencing were conservative commentators Mary Matalin, a former Cheney aide, and Victoria Toensing, a former deputy assistant attorney general during the Reagan administration.
Walton fined Libby $250,000 and placed him on probation for two years following his release from prison. Walton did not immediately address whether Libby could remain free pending appeal.
With letters of support from several former military commanders and White House and State Department officials, Libby asked for no jail time. His supporters cited a government career in which Libby helped win the Cold War and the first Gulf War.
"He has fallen from public grace," defense attorney Theodore Wells said. "It is a tragic fall, a tragic fall."
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald called on Libby to serve up to three years in prison. Fitzgerald declined to comment after the sentencing hearing.
FOX News' Jim Angle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.