WASHINGTON – Former top White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was banned Thursday from practicing law in the nation's capital following his perjury conviction in the case of a CIA operative's leaked identity.
The disbarment order of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia had been expected.
"When a member of the bar is convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, disbarment is mandatory," the appeals court ruled.
Last May, a court panel that oversees lawyer ethics recommended that Libby be stripped of his law license in Washington. The Board on Professional Responsibility then found that Libby's conviction for lying to the FBI about the case of former CIA operative Valerie Plame amounted to "crimes that involve moral turpitude."
"This action is required by the rules following a conviction regardless of the merits of the case, and for that reason Mr. Libby expected and did not oppose the court's order," said Libby attorney William Jeffress.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was first licensed to work as a lawyer in Washington in 1978. His membership with the D.C. bar also was suspended for failing to pay his dues, records show.
Thursday's appeals court ruling also noted that "neither bar counsel nor respondent has taken exception to the board's report and recommendation."
Libby was the only person to face criminal charges in the case of the 2003 leak of Plame's identity. Plame has since left the CIA and contends the White House was trying to discredit her husband, a critic of President Bush's Iraq policy.
Last July, Bush commuted Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence, sparing him from serving any prison time after being convicted of perjury and obstructing justice. Libby dropped appeals to have his convictions overturned. He has paid a $250,000 fine and remains on two years probation.