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George Bush Pardons Michael Vick

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Deion Sanders has written a defense of Michael Vick for the Florida News-Press. (No, I haven't heard of it either. I'm guessing it's something the homeless sell.) If it got scrambled up with President Bush's statement granting clemency to Scooter Libby, the results might look a little like this...

(And, yes, all of the quotes are real. Those from the washed-up has-been come first. Deion Sanders' are in quotation marks.)

THE PRESIDENT: The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice.

DEION SANDERS: "I would've never thought Mike Vick, one of the NFL's most exciting players -- the man who makes the network execs smile every time he plays -- would ever be indicted for crimes against man's best friend."


The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely.

"His reputation might wind up so stained that he's never forgiven in the court of public opinion. That would be too bad for the 27-year-old superstar."

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine.

"He could lose millions worth of endorsements. Nike has already suspended the release of his new shoe."

In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.

"That's unlikely, but it could happen if he's convicted or makes a plea arrangement."

Others point out that a jury... found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice.

"This is all the result of perspective."

They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth.

"What a dog means to Vick might be a lot different than what he means to you or I. Hold on, don't start shaking your head just yet. Listen to me. 

Some people kiss their dogs on the mouth."

Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak.

"Some people let their dogs eat from their plate. Some people dress their dogs in suits more expensive than mine, if you can believe that." 



Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime.

"And some people enjoy proving they have the biggest, toughest dog on the street. You're probably not going to believe this, but I bet Vick loves the dogs that were the biggest and the baddest. Maybe, he identified with them in some way."

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.

"You can still choose to condemn him, but I'm trying to take you inside his mind so you can understand where he might be coming from... I have three highly-trained protection German shepherds, just in case someone wants to rob my family."

Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points... I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.

"Believe me, you don't want to deal with them. With one German command, our dog Yascho turns into Cujo."

I respect the jury's verdict.

"And for the record, I live around the corner from the police station, so it won't take them long to show up and save you from the dogs."

But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

"Was he wrong? Absolutely. Was he stupid? Can't argue with that."

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby.

"Was he immature? No doubt. But is he the ringleader? I just can't see it."

He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect.

"This situation reminds me of a scene in the movie "New Jack City," when drug dealer Nino Brown is on the witness stand and eloquently says, 'This thing is bigger than me.'"

The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

"I believe Vick had a passion for dogfighting."

The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted.

"The reason this is turning into a three-ring circus is that baseball is boring."

It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power.

"God bless and God willing I'll hollah at you next week."