Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Libby Motion" For Convicted Terrorist Bankroller

President Bush's pardon of Scooter Libby was, at one level, an end-run around controversial federal sentencing guidelines. Defense lawyers, being who they are, didn't take long to recognize an opening -- and it looks like the first time it's tried will bring even more irony to the already irony-clad Libby case:
The New York Sun reports this morning that an alleged Hamas operative is likely to be among the first criminal defendants to try to capitalize on President Bush’s commutation. Mohammed Salah, 57, is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge in Chicago next week on one count of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors are seeking 22 years under the federal sentencing guidelines.

Said Salah’s lawyer Michael Deutsch, who’s seeking a sentence of probation: “What the president said about Mr. Libby applies in spades to the case of Mohammed Salah.We’ll definitely be bringing it up to the judge. It’s going to be a real test, a first early test of whether we’re a nation of laws or a nation of men.” (WSJ Law Blog)
I fail to see anything in Salah's case about dedicated service to the U.S. government; instead I see a man who gave money to Hamas. I don't think Salah deserves 22 years, but that's more a comment on the problems with the federal sentencing guidelines than it is about Salah's case.

It would be a shame to use Libby to get probation for a funder of a terrorist organization. The courts need to give better direction on the guidelines or overturn them so we can start over -- if they don't, we'll see a slew of very bad "Libby motions."

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