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“The Constitution gives the president the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted,” he said. “It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libbys case is an appropriate exercise of this power.”

Libby drew support from more than 150 military commanders, diplomats, friends and others who called for leniency. They said in letters to the court he played a significant role in ending the Cold War and in the early days of the war in Iraq.

Many of the letters were delivered by the Libby Legal Defense Trust, a group of prominent neoconservatives who donated a million dollars to help defray Libby’s legal expenses. The letter writers included former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

“That’s fantastic. It’s a great relief,” Trust member Richard Carlson told reporters. “Scooter Libby did not deserve to go to prison and I’m glad the president had the courage to do this.” [Bullet]Joseph Curl contributed to this article.