Friday, November 16, 2007

Will George W. Bush commute Barry Bonds' sentence if he's found guilty?

Yesterday, the guy with the biggest head this side of Tim Russert, Barry Bonds, was indicted by a federal grand jury of five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, coincidentally, the same charges faced by Dick Cheney's erstwhile chief of staff, Scooter Libby. However, after Libby's conviction, Bush commuted his sentence. Here's how CNN described it at the time

President Bush on Monday spared I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from prison, commuting the former White House aide's 30-month prison term.

A conviction remains on Scooter Libby's record, and he must still pay a $250,000 fine.

The prison time was imposed after a federal court convicted Libby of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of the name of a CIA operative.


In a written statement commuting the prison sentence, issued hours after Monday's ruling, Bush called the sentence "excessive," and suggested that Libby will pay a big enough price for his conviction.
Ok, fair enough. Libby was found guilty on four counts, and was sentenced to a 30 month prison term. So that sets the bar at what Bush considers to be unfair and excessive for perjury and obstruction of justice.

Now let's turn our attention to Barry Bonds. Here's how Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated describes the charges against Bonds.
However a conviction would be described, Bonds would face up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of three perjury charges, and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for an obstruction of justice charge. He would be facing serious time.
Ok, so we've got Libby sentenced to 30 months for perjury and obstruction of justice, and Bonds facing a potential 35 years in prison for the same charges. Leaving aside for the moment the greater question of whether a guy who took steroids should get a longer prison sentence than a guy who conspired to leak the identity of a covert CIA operative and then cover it up, I think it's a fair question: if Bonds is found guilty and sentenced to more than 30 months in prison, would George Bush support commuting his sentence?