Austin prosecutors successfully criminalize political differences with DeLay
Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives.I think he has a good shot on appeal. There is some evidence that the jury was not following the judges instructions and was wandering away from what the trial was about. DeLay deserves better. The Democrats had been abusing the process for years to keep control of the House delegation despite the fact that the Republicans were a large majority in Texas. DeLay was able to overcome that and the Democrats could never get over it so they decided to try to put him in jail and get him out of office. that they succeeded is a miscarriage of justice.
After 19 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. DeLay was guilty of conspiring with two associates in 2002 to circumvent a state law against corporate contributions to political campaigns. He was convicted of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
As the verdict was read, Mr. DeLay, 63, sat stone-faced at the defense table. Then he rose, turned, smiled and hugged his wife and then his weeping daughter in the first row of spectators. He faces between 5 and 99 years in prison, though the judge may choose probation.
A few minutes later, Mr. DeLay said outside the courtroom that he would appeal the decision. He called the prosecution a political vendetta by Democrats in the local district attorney’s office, and revenge for his role in orchestrating the 2003 redrawing of Congressional districts to elect more Republicans.
“This is an abuse of power,” he said. “It’s a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain my innocence. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system.”