President George W. Bush on Monday spared former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby from going to prison for 2 1/2 years for obstructing a CIA leak investigation.
"I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive," Bush said in a statement. "Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."
Bush's move came after intense pressure from conservatives who demanded he pardon Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, and saw him as the victim of overly zealous special prosecutor.
His decision to commute his sentence, instead of an outright pardon, was a nod to the fact that the court process for Libby had not yet run its course, but it was unlikely to quell criticism from the left.