Bush’s Crony Commutation Has Ramifications

Brian Zick

Think Progress passes along a report from the New York Sun: The New York Sun reports today that an “alleged Hamas operative is likely to be among the first criminal defendents to try to capitalize on President Bush’s commutation.” Mohammad Salah is scheduled to be sentenced next week on obstruction of justice charges, with a 22 year maximum sentence. “What the president said about Mr. Libby applies in spades to the case of Mohammed Salah,” said defense attorney Michael Deutsch. Deutsch plans to use several of Bush’s arguments to argue for reducing the prison sentence for Salah to probation: When Mr. Bush commuted that prison sentence on Monday, he made particular note of the alleged unfairness in how Libby’s sentence was calculated. “Critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury,” the president wrote. […] “It applies to an even greater extent in Mr. Salah’s case,” Mr. Deutsch said. “In our case, these allegations were presented to a jury and he was acquitted.” Mr. Deutsch also noted that while Libby was convicted of lying to the FBI and a grand jury in a criminal investigation, the lies Salah was convicted of telling were part of his defense to a civil case brought by the family of a victim of a Hamas-sponsored bombing.

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