WASHINGTON – Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is dropping his appeal in the CIA leak case, his attorney said Monday.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of perjury and obstruction for lying about his conversations with reporters about outed CIA operative Valerie Plame.
"We remain firmly convinced of Mr. Libby's innocence," attorney Theodore Wells said. "However, the realities were, that after five years of government service by Mr. Libby and several years of defending against this case, the burden on Mr. Libby and his young family of continuing to pursue his complete vindication are too great to ask them to bear."
Wells noted that retrying the case "would last even beyond the two years of supervised release, cost millions of dollars more than the fine he has already paid, and entail many more hundreds of hours preparing for an all-consuming appeal and retrial."
Libby was fined $250,000, given 400 hours of community service and two years of supervised probation. His original sentence, including 30 months jail time, was commuted by President Bush.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald had no comment Monday and has said the leak investigation is closed.
The decision to withdraw his appeal means Libby will remain a convicted felon. President Bush could wipe away the conviction with a full pardon, something he has refused to rule out. Wells said Monday that he has not spoken to the White House about a pardon and does not know what Bush will do.
Another of Libby's attorneys, William Jeffress, has said Libby deserves a pardon.
Libby was the only person charged in the investigation into the leak of Plame's identity. Nobody was charged with the leak itself, which Plame alleges was politically motivated. Her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a vocal critic of the Bush administration's war policy.
Plame sued Libby and other members of the Bush administration over the leak, but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.