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Most deciding Libby’s fate are GOP appointees

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two of the three judges considering whether to delay former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence were Republican appointees.

Libby's request was assigned to Judges David B. Sentelle, Karen Lecraft Henderson and David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Sentelle was put on the bench by President Reagan, Henderson by the first President Bush and Tatel by President Clinton.

But judicial politics haven't helped Libby so far. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, whom President Bush put on the court in 2001. Walton, citing Libby's "overwhelming" guilt, also refused to delay the sentence.

Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was convicted in March of lying and obstructing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. Libby wants that sentence delayed because he believes he has a good chance of having his conviction overturned on appeal.

The three judges said Wednesday that Fitzgerald has until Friday to respond to the request. Their order was the first public glimpse at the panel that will consider the issue. Appellate panels rotate during the summer and cases are assigned to whichever panel is sitting when the motion is filed.

Of the three judges, two are former prosecutors. Sentelle was a federal prosecutor in North Carolina in the 1970s. Henderson was deputy attorney general in South Carolina in the early 1980s.

The panel considering Libby's delay request is not necessarily the same panel that will hear the appeal of his conviction.