On the July 5 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing President Bush's commutation of former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's jail sentence, Neal Boortz falsely claimed that "Scooter Libby and Bill Clinton got sentenced and convicted for exactly the same crime." As Media Matters for America has previously noted, Clinton was not indicted on criminal charges of perjury by independent counsel Robert Ray or his predecessor, Kenneth Starr. By contrast, a federal jury convicted Libby on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton subsequently sentenced him to 30 months in federal prison.
After Boortz made his false statement, a caller responded, "I don't remember Bill Clinton actually being convicted for perjury." Boortz told the caller: "I'm sorry, he was." When the caller stated that the Senate had acquitted Clinton on impeachment charges, Boortz repeated the falsehood a third time, saying: "We're talking about a criminal trial, sir. The verdict was guilty."
Later in the broadcast, during the "Information Overload" segment, Boortz repeated the falsehood again, stating, "Scooter Libby was convicted of the exact same thing that Bill Clinton was convicted of."
The Georgia Association of Broadcasters awarded Boortz and his radio show the honors of "Best Radio On-Air Personality" and "Best Radio Program, Any Type" in 2007. Boortz is a nominee for the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame 2007 Career Achievement Award. Boortz's flagship station is WSB in Atlanta.
From the July 5 broadcast of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show:
BOORTZ: But in the case of Scooter Libby, Scooter Libby and Bill Clinton got sentenced and convicted for exactly the same crime. Can you -- now tell me, why is there so much outrage on the left that Scooter Libby isn't going to have to serve a 30-month jail term, and not a bit of outrage on the left that Bill Clinton didn't even get a 30-month jail term.
CALLER: I don't remember Bill Clinton actually being convicted for perjury.
BOORTZ: I'm sorry, he was.
CALLER: He was exonerated by a Republican Senate if I remember correctly.
BOORTZ: No sir, that's an impeachment. We're talking about a criminal trial, sir. The verdict was guilty. He was disbarred as a result of that verdict. He had his privileges to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States revoked because of that verdict.
CALLER: Well, the bottom line --
BOORTZ: But you know, it's a crime that Scooter Libby isn't going to jail but quite OK that Bill Clinton didn't.
BOORTZ: OK, I have a couple of stories for you. First of all, on the Scooter Libby sentence commutation, he had -- Scooter Libby was sentenced to pay a $250,000 fine. That's a quarter of a million dollars, that's more than a lot of people make in a year. He was also sentenced to serve 30 months in jail and then two years on probation. He was not pardoned by George Bush. He had the jail sentence commuted.
Scooter Libby was convicted of the exact same thing that Bill Clinton was convicted of. Bill Clinton got no jail time. That was fine. Scoter Libby now gets no jail time. That's not fine. Bill Clinton, liberal. Scooter Libby, presumed right wing. At any rate, Bill Clinton has now taken it upon himself to criticize George Bush for, in Bill Clinton's words, pardoning Scooter Libby although it was only a commutation of sentence.