Money-laundering case against former House majority leader Tom DeLay overturned
Judges say they will acquit powerful Republican of all charges
House majority leader Tom DeLay was convicted by a jury in November of 2010 for illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee. It was ostensibly in order to help elect GOP candidates to the Texas Legislature in 2002. Now - judges say they will acquit the 67-year-old DeLay of all charges.
The news was certainly welcome by the Tom DeLay camp. "He's ecstatic. He's gratified. He's just a little bit numb," DeLay's attorney, Brian Wice, told the Associated Press. "I'm hoping with today's victory, he will be able to resume his life as he once knew it."
The judges added that "the evidence shows that the defendants were attempting to comply with the election code limitations on corporate contributions," In the appellate court's majority opinion.
This belated bit of justice means that DeLay cannot be retried and the money laundering case is officially over. DeLay left Congress in 2006 after serving as majority leader, the House's No. 2 job and top lieutenant to the speaker, from 2003 to 2005.
The news was certainly welcome by the DeLay camp. "He's ecstatic. He's gratified. He's just a little bit numb," DeLay's attorney, Brian Wice, told the Associated Press. "I'm hoping with today's victory, he will be able to resume his life as he once knew it."
After his conviction in 2010, DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison on a conspiracy charge and five years for money laundering. DeLay remained a free man while he was appealing his case. DeLay had long maintained his innocence and denounced what he called the "criminalization of politics."
Convicted of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee to help elect GOP candidates to the Texas Legislature in 2002, the RNC then in turn sent checks to Texas House candidates. State law prohibits corporations from giving directly to political candidates and their campaigns.
Prosecutors said the money helped the GOP take control of the Texas House, enabling them to push through a DeLay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Republicans to Congress in 2004, strengthening his political power.
The appeals court in a 22-page opinion said prosecutors "failed in its burden to prove that the funds that were delivered to the seven candidates were ever tainted."
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