Former White House Aide Found Guilty

By  | 

WASHINGTON -- There have been guilty verdicts on four of the five counts in the CIA leak case. Former White House aide Lewis Libby has been convicted of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI.

He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI.

Libby didn't show much reaction to the verdict. He stood expressionless as the jury left the room.

Libby was accused of lying and obstructing an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

The former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney is the only person charged in the case that grew out of an investigation into the 2003 leak of Valerie Plame's identity.

Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's case for the Iraq war.

The federal jury in Washington heard 19 witnesses during the five-week trial. The verdict comes on the tenth day of deliberations.

Libby faces up to 30 years in prison. But under federal sentencing guidelines, he'll probably receive far less.

"Very disappointed" is how an attorney for Libby describes his reaction to the conviction of the former White House aide. Libby's lawyer says he plans to ask for a new trial, and will appeal if that motion is denied.

The White House and the prosecutor in the CIA leak case are expressing different kinds of sadness after the conviction of Libby.

A White House spokeswoman says President Bush is "saddened" for the former White House aide and his family.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who led the leak investigation, says it's "sad" that a high-level official "obstructed justice and lied under oath."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid welcomed the verdict. The Nevada Democrat says "it's about time" someone in the Bush administration is held accountable for what he called a "campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics."

Libby is the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal.

Vice President Cheney says he is "very disappointed" with the conviction of his former chief of staff in the CIA leak trial.

In a statement, Cheney says Libby has "served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction." He adds that he doesn't plan to comment any more about the case because Libby plans to ask for a new trial and potentially file an appeal.