WASHINGTON -- Car thieves, drug dealers and a moonshiner, received an early Christmas present from U.S. President George Bush, a presidential pardon.
Absent from the list of 29 individuals who received pardons or sentence commutations was I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide convicted of leaking the name of a CIA operative.
The individuals who received the pardons on Monday were sentenced to five years or less; most were sentenced to probation.
The U.S. Department of Justice released the list of the 29 people, their convictions and their original sentences on Tuesday.
Bush commuted Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence in July, meaning Cheney's former chief-of-staff did not have to serve any prison time for his conviction of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case of leaking former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.
A pardon is basically the government's forgiveness of a crime and its punishment. Commutation of a sentence reduces legal penalties but doesn't not invalidate the conviction.
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