WASHINGTON I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, announced Monday that he was dropping the appeal of his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case.
The move comes five months after President Bush commuted the 30-month prison sentence imposed on Libby, who was found guilty of lying to investigators and a federal grand jury about the circumstances of the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, a former covert employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Libby's lawyer, Theodore V. Wells Jr., said in a statement that "we remain convinced of Mr. Libby's innocence" but that "after five years of government service and several years of defending against this case, the burden on Mr. Libby and his young family of continuing to pursue his compete vindication are too great to ask them to bear."
The decision means that unless Libby receives a White House pardon, a prospect that Bush has declined to rule out, he remains a convicted criminal whose term of probation will last until 2009. He has already paid a $250,000 fine.
Asked Monday about the possibility of a pardon, Dana M. Perino, Bush's spokeswoman, said, "Of course the Constitution provides the president the powers of the pardon." But Perino emphasized that the White House did not speculate on the possibility of pardons.
Wilson has charged that her name was leaked by the Bush administration in an act of revenge against her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a retired ambassador who had emerged as a leading critic of the administration's justifications for its 2003 invasion of Iraq.
"By dropping his appeal," Joseph Wilson said in a statement Monday, "Mr. Libby has finally abandoned the pretense that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice."