Appeals court overturns DeLay conviction, acquits him

posted at 12:01 pm on September 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

For the second time in the last few years, a high-profile corruption prosecution against a Republican member of Congress has collapsed.  This time, it’s Tom DeLay that gets to celebrate, as an appeals court not only overturned his conviction but ordered an acquittal:

A Texas appeals court has overturned the money laundering conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling on Thursday that DeLay had been acquitted. DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison, but his sentence was on hold while his case made its way through the appellate process. …

In Thursday’s ruling, the judges wrote “we reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal.”

Unless the state appeals the ruling, this means that DeLay cannot be retried on the charges.  The court could have ordered a new trial if it restrained its scope to just procedural issues.  However, the court apparently believed that the prosecution simply couldn’t make a case for wrongdoing, and as a result took the relatively rare step of overturning a jury’s findings on guilt.

Their opinion makes it clear that the court had little regard for the state’s case:

Given the testimony of the corporate representatives and the undisputed facts that the corporations could lawfully make donations to TRMPAC and TRMPAC could lawfully transfer the corporate funds out of state, the State failed to prove the “applicable culpable mental states” for the donating corporations to support a finding of criminal intent by the corporations. See Ex parte Ellis, 309 S.W.3d at 90. 1

To support its position that the majority of corporate contributions violated the Election Code by not expressly designating a lawful use of their donations to TRMPAC, the State focuses on the following clause from the opinion in Ex parte Ellis: “there is no such thing as a legal undesignated corporate political contribution.” Id. at 88. We believe that the State takes this clause out of context. In that case, the court was addressing constitutional challenges to the Election Code. The clause cited by the State was made during the court’s examination of section 253.100, the section of the Election Code addressing the establishment of a general-purpose committee by a corporation and in response to a possible suggestion made by this Court. …

The State’s primary argument at trial was that the Election Code violation that generated criminal proceeds was the “agreement” between DeLay and others to the combined transfers of funds, i.e., the money swap of soft money for hard money. The State argued in its final argument: “[T]he moment that the decision was made to send the soft dollar check up to Washington D.C. with the intent that it ultimately go to candidates for elective office is the moment that this money became proceeds of criminal activity.” Relying on the use of the word “indirect” 13 in the Election and Penal Code statutes at issue, the State argues that the “agreement” to the combined transactions itself was an illegal contribution and thus the corporate funds sitting in TRMPAC’s bank account at the moment of the agreement became the proceeds of criminal activity. See Tex. Elec. Code § 251.001(2) (defining “contribution” to include “indirect transfer of money” and “agreement . . . to make a transfer”). However, the State fails to explain how the funds already in the bank account resulted from the subsequent money-swap agreement. See Tex. Penal Code § 34.01(4) (defining “proceeds” to include “funds acquired or derived directly or indirectly from, produced through, or realized through . . . an act”). Further, to support this argument, the State disregards the distinction between soft and hard money accounts as irrelevant, arguing: “The fact that the funds were not commingled is simply irrelevant in light of the explicit one-for-one exchange which was negotiated in this case.” But in the context of the campaign finance regulations, maintaining separate, segregated bank accounts for soft and hard money is recognized and accepted as legitimate.

The court also attacked the core of the case, the alleged conspiracy to violate election law, emphasis mine:

We also question the validity of the State’s “agreement” theory. It was not a crime to conspire to violate the Election Code in 2002. See Colyandro, 233 S.W.3d at 870–71, 885. And, even if it was, the evidence does not support a finding that there was an “agreement” to illegally transfer corporate money to Texas candidates. There was no evidence that TRMPAC or RNSEC treated the corporate funds as anything but what they were, corporate funds with limited uses under campaign finance law. Rather, when viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence showed an agreement to two legal monetary transfers: that TRMPAC transfer corporate money to RNSEC for use in other states and not in Texas in exchange for RNSEC transferring funds to Texas candidates out of a hard money account. Rather than supporting an agreement to violate the Election Code, the evidence shows that the defendants were attempting to comply with the Election Code limitations on corporate contributions.

But even if that were true, the court ruled, there was no core crime to begin with:

Finally, even if we were to conclude that the corporate donations to TRMPAC or the agreement itself to the series of money transfers violated the Election Code, the State’s charges as stated in the indictment were tied to the transfer from RNSEC to the seven Texas candidates. As stated above, the RNSEC issued the checks to the candidates from a separate, segregated account—a hard money account—which did not include corporate money.

The conclusion? DeLay didn’t commit a crime at all, and the conviction resulted from poor jury instructions:

Based on the totality of the evidence, we conclude that the evidence presented does not support a conclusion that DeLay committed the crimes that were charged. See Williams,235 S.W.3d at 750; see also United States v. Grossman, 117 F.3d 255, 261 (5th Cir. 1997) (concluding that evidence legallyinsufficient to sustain conspiracycount where evidence was legally insufficient to sustain substantive counts forming basis for object of conspiracy); United States 21v. Mackay, 33 F.3d 489, 494 (5th Cir. 1994) (“A conspiracy conviction requires proof of an agreement to commit a crime.”). The fundamental problem with the State’s case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity. We sustain DeLay’s first and second points of error.

Due to our resolution of these two grounds, we do not reach DeLay’s remaining points of error. Because we conclude that the evidence was legally insufficient to support DeLay’s convictions, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal.

Quite frankly, that deconstruction is so complete that it would be difficult to imagine the Texas Supreme Court overturning any of it — and a successful appeal would have to hope that the court overturns all of it, or at least enough to get a new trial.  I’d predict that the directed verdict of acquittal will send a strong enough message to dissuade prosecutors from trying it again.

DeLay joins the late Ted Stevens as two members of Congress recently prosecuted for corruption to be later vindicated in appeals to original convictions.  William Jefferson, who was prosecuted in the same time frame, lost all of his appeals and will be in prison for at least the next ten years.  The man who should be under scrutiny now is Ronnie Earle, whose years-long legal grudge match against DeLay  and other Texas Republicans has been thoroughly discredited by the appellate court.

Update: Our friend Bryan Preston at PJM takes us on a trip down Memory Lane regarding this prosecution.  I had totally forgotten about Jim Schermbeck, for instance.


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So, where does he go to get his reputation back…?

JohnGalt23 on September 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Libs about DeLay: “This is a travesty of justice, keep investigating!”

Libs about Killary: “Ben who? Come on, time to move forward and forget this petty stuff.”

Bishop on September 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Obama and Holder won’t be so lucky……

redguy on September 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Witch hunt.

NeoKong on September 19, 2013 at 12:06 PM

But this case helped get Pelosi the Speakership, so ends justify the means.

besser tot als rot on September 19, 2013 at 12:08 PM

The man who should be under scrutiny now is Ronnie Earle, whose years-long legal grudge match against DeLay and other Texas Republicans has been thoroughly discredited by the appellate court.

Ronnie Earle should be in jail.

slickwillie2001 on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Case study witch hunt…

djl130 on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Pwned. Note that the Texas Democrats are holding on with both hands to a belligerent, drunk-driving Travis County DA, the hand-picked successor to the Travis County DA who filed the original charges. Travis County (Austin) runs the Public Integrity Unit through the Travis County DA’s office.

Now, and it pains me to say this as a Republican living in Travis County, one of us has almost no chance in an election for DA. But look how hard Texas Democrats are holding on to Rosemary Lehmberg. They don’t want a Perry or Abbott appointee for the few months it would take for the brain dead government workers and hipsters to pick the next Democrat in the next election. Now, why is that, you think…?

Sekhmet on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

There NEEDS to be Retribution, here!!

williamg on September 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Quite frankly, that deconstruction is so complete that it would be difficult to imagine the Texas Supreme Court overturning any of it — and a successful appeal would have to hope that the court overturns all of it, or at least enough to get a new trial. I’d predict that the directed verdict of acquittal will send a strong enough message to dissuade prosecutors from trying it again.

No way the SCOT will reverse the appellate court, even if Ronnie Earle’s successor is stupid enough to appeal. Unlike the Travis County DA’s office, the SCOT is not comprised of a bunch of liberal political hacks but of mostly strict constructionists who happen to be Republicans.

Happy for Tom!

TXUS on September 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

The libs that post at the Houston Chronicle are having strokes.

docflash on September 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM

No competent, unbiased prosecutor would ever have brought these charges.

What the Appeals Court finally ruled was all obvious from the outset, but of course the real purpose of these charges wasn’t to pursue any supposed “criminal” violations, but rather to destroy DeLay’s political career and ruin his life for the next 8 years.

And at that goal, Ronnie Earle succeeded completely.

Tom Servo on September 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Now, and it pains me to say this as a Republican living in Travis County, one of us has almost no chance in an election for DA. But look how hard Texas Democrats are holding on to Rosemary Lehmberg. They don’t want a Perry or Abbott appointee for the few months it would take for the brain dead government workers and hipsters to pick the next Democrat in the next election. Now, why is that, you think…?

Sekhmet on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

They learned from the debacle the Wisconsin Rats did in 2006 – they ousted Keg Goldschlag…er…Peg Lautenschlager in the primary, then saw the only state/federal-level office held by Rats slip out of their hands in the entire 2006 election because their chosen replacement was a political hack who hadn’t spent a day as a prosecutor.

Of course, they lucked out in that J.B. Van Hollen proved to be quite the RINO.

Steve Eggleston on September 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

About damned time…

OmahaConservative on September 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM

There NEEDS to be Retribution, here!!

williamg on September 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

But there won’t be. That’s not how things work in DC.

gryphon202 on September 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Unless the state appeals the ruling, this means that DeLay cannot be retried on the charges.

Doesn’t the appeals court acquitting him attached Double Jeopardy? It’s one thing to overturn a verdict, leaving open the possibility of a new trial. It’s another, I think, to actually issue an acquittal. Any lawyers who can clarify this?

NotCoach on September 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM

As my father used to say, Ronnie Earle is so crooked that when he dies they won’t have to bury him, they can just screw him into the ground.

wkh on September 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

The howling(s) of “judicial activism” would be heard from the libs.

Irony (or for that matter, rational thinking) was never their strong suit.

Sir Napsalot on September 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Just like Senator Ted Stevens.

Witch hunt.

portlandon on September 19, 2013 at 12:20 PM

With all his fleas I wish he were back in DC.

He didn’t cry in public and he fought as thuggishly as the leftist destroyers. He had convictions. Sure he was flawed. Who isn’t?

Look at the preezie – “raising the debt ceiling doesn’t increase the debt” — and he shits Beluga, not the smelly stuff…he is obama, after all. The media say so. Oh, how I love that he’s suffocating most all of the media.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Bring back the Hammer! That would make the Dimmis quake.

nicefly on September 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Pwned. Note that the Texas Democrats are holding on with both hands to a belligerent, drunk-driving Travis County DA, the hand-picked successor to the Travis County DA who filed the original charges. Travis County (Austin) runs the Public Integrity Unit through the Travis County DA’s office.

Sekhmet on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

The Texas Legislature could fix that. They could mandate that a state lever bureau of investigation would have to look at the case first and then, only if there were sufficient evidence from a complete investigation would the case then be turned over to a prosecutor. And the County Prosecutor handling the case would in the county where the violation(s) took place.

Prosecutorial misbehavior is pretty much a constant across the country. What is needed is a law that would sanction the prosecutor for their misbehavior by imposing a sentence on them as thought they committed the crime for which they persecuted their victim. It would bring Prosecutors up short if they knew they would be facing hard time for what they did.

Quartermaster on September 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

The Texas Legislature could fix that. They could mandate that a state lever bureau of investigation would have to look at the case first and then, only if there were sufficient evidence from a complete investigation would the case then be turned over to a prosecutor. And the County Prosecutor handling the case would in the county where the violation(s) took place.

Prosecutorial misbehavior is pretty much a constant across the country. What is needed is a law that would sanction the prosecutor for their misbehavior by imposing a sentence on them as thought they committed the crime for which they persecuted their victim. It would bring Prosecutors up short if they knew they would be facing hard time for what they did.

Quartermaster on September 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

There are already laws against prosecutorial misconduct. They aren’t enforced. Color me skeptical, but I don’t think it would do any good to just pass another law to not enforce. (cf. immigration and gun control)

gryphon202 on September 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM

About damned time…

OmahaConservative on September 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Yup. As someone else posted, Earle should be in jail!

This case stunk to high Heaven, but it was Tom Delay, so
it was all good…..afterall, he NEEDED to be punished!

ToddPA on September 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I seem to have a vague recollection of Ronnie Earle being the original source for those now infamous faked George W. Bush Texas National Guard documents which Dan Rather later claimed to be, “fake but accurate.” If anyone has a better memory, please fill in the blanks.

Flyovercountry on September 19, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Yup. As someone else posted, Earle should be in jail!

This case stunk to high Heaven, but it was Tom Delay, so
it was all good…..afterall, he NEEDED to be punished!

ToddPA on September 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I pondered typing out a list of all the known criminals that operate just on Capitol Hill alone, but I really don’t have the time.

gryphon202 on September 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

The libs that post at the Houston Chronicle are having strokes.

docflash on September 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Awesome.

:)

mankai on September 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

The guilty verdict on the bad dancing charge still stands, however.

Mark1971 on September 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

The libs that post at the Houston Chronicle are having strokes.

The Comical had a special section running for months that extended into years chronicling their version of the trial and conviction. They really expected to get a Pulitzer for their awful coverage and promotion of Delay’s guilt. Delay should sue Ronnie Earle.

They just installed a new editor from the Minneapolis Star. I expect the same ultra liberal spewage of democrat talking points to continue.

btw, most of the posters that are not liberal have been banned from the moderated comments section

DanMan on September 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM

The guilty verdict on the bad dancing charge still stands, however.

Mark1971 on September 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Maybe a return to Congress is in order…and a return to that show as well (although you couldn’t pay me to watch it).

22044 on September 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM

So the prosecutor (D), the DA (D), the judge (D), and the jury in the heavily left-leaning Travis County got it wrong when they prosecuted a well-known Republican for funding campaigns using wide-spread practices used by both political parties in Texas? What a surprise!

njolsson on September 19, 2013 at 12:39 PM

The man who should be under scrutiny now is Ronnie Earle, whose years-long legal grudge match against DeLay and other Texas Republicans has been thoroughly discredited by the appellate court.

Ronnie Earle should be in jail.

slickwillie2001 on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Ronnie Earle should be caught somewhere outside of Austin, outside of Travis County, and given the justice he deserves. There is a fine Texas tradition of “no bill(ing)” [bill of indictment] those who administer street justice to the richly deserving.

M240H on September 19, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Big deal. The Dems got what they wanted, so who cares besides DeLay?

HiJack on September 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Objective secured

Murphy9 on September 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Unless the state appeals the ruling, this means that DeLay cannot be retried on the charges. The court could have ordered a new trial if it restrained its scope to just procedural issues. However, the court apparently believed that the prosecution simply couldn’t make a case for wrongdoing, and as a result took the relatively rare step of overturning a jury’s findings on guilt.

Appeals courts normally don’t do this. They may overturn a conviction, but they usually leave it up to the prosecutor for a retrial.

rbj on September 19, 2013 at 12:42 PM

The libs that post at the Houston Chronicle are having strokes.

Like in Syria, don’t intervene.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2013 at 12:42 PM

So the prosecutor (D), the DA (D), the judge (D), and the jury in the heavily left-leaning Travis County got it wrong when they prosecuted a well-known Republican for funding campaigns using wide-spread practices used by both political parties in Texas? What a surprise!

njolsson on September 19, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Didn’t the prosecutor engage in extreme judge & jury hunting to get a false conviction?

22044 on September 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Libs on DeLay: He’s a Republican, so he must be guilty!
Libs on Hillary and Benghazi: What difference does it make now?
Libs on the IRS scandal: What difference does it make now?
Libs on TSA and NSA misconduct: What difference does it make now?
Libs on Green Tech failures: What difference does it make now?
Libs on everything to do with guns: Screw the 2nd Amendment!

College Prof on September 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM

The libs that post at the Houston Chronicle are having strokes.

Like in Syria, don’t intervene.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Even though it’s a safe bet that the libs are using chemicals… mostly on themselves, though.

mankai on September 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

The man who should be under scrutiny now is Ronnie Earle, whose years-long legal grudge match against DeLay and other Texas Republicans has been thoroughly discredited by the appellate court

.

A blues guitarist had a years long legal grudge with Delay? ;0

Seriously this was such a partisan attack from the begining that the conviction was the stunner. There never was a case but Earle (who was aiming for higher office) accomplished what he set out to do. Delay was out of office and Earle thought he had enough of a profile to run for statewide office. He failed.

Earle was, in that sense, the Wendy Davis of his time. A partisan political whore who somehow thought he had more of a base than he actually did.

Happy Nomad on September 19, 2013 at 1:03 PM

I was never a fan of Delay, and I was never a fan of Stevens. That said, I’m even less of a fan of false criminal charges being used as a political weapon.

You might hope that Democrats would learn a lesson here. But what’s the lesson to be learned? False charges don’t destroy a political opponent? No, they obviously did. He may not be going to jail, but he’s no longer in Congress. This worked against a former governor of Alaska too.

Democrat modus operandi: throw enough $#!+ at your political opponents until they are unable to do their jobs. Truth doesn’t matter.

Chris of Rights on September 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Appeals courts normally don’t do this. They may overturn a conviction, but they usually leave it up to the prosecutor for a retrial.

Exactly! This is the Appeals Court going out of it’s way to say “You’ve had your shot at this, Prosecution, and we don’t trust you enough to give you another chance at it.”

Since this decision is recorded as an official Acquittal, any attempted retrial would be considered Double Jeopardy, and is constitutionally banned. The reason the original article mentioned a caveat on appeal is that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (Which is the Texas Supreme Court for criminal cases) is the only court left which could possibly have the authority to overturn this finding, but as others have posted, the chance of that happening is slim to none. For those who may be wondering, the US Supreme Court doesn’t take state criminal cases of this kind, not unless there is some credible claim that a fundamental constitutional right has been violated.

And to engage in a bit of hearty Schadenfreude, in the “History repeats!” department, this is almost EXACTLY what happened with Ronnie Earl’s charges against Kay Bailey Hutchison, about 20 years ago! Of course that was a lower court, but I still remember how much fun it was to see Ronnie Earle’s big Public Corruption case get drop kicked out of the courtroom by a Judge he thought he could bully around.

Of course, he did learn his lesson, and he carefully shopped his courtrooms before lodging the charges against DeLay with a judge who’s rulings and influence were a foregone conclusion.

Tom Servo on September 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I don’t like DeLay, but always felt it was a political prosecution. I hope he has happy retirement in relative obscurity.

Exit question: Why do politicians who are discredited seem to show up on reality shows, like the horrible Dancing With The Stars?

simkeith on September 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Exit question: Why do politicians who are discredited seem to show up on reality shows, like the horrible Dancing With The Stars?

simkeith on September 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Um… Today’s ruling pretty much proves that Delay was wrongfully prosecuted. How is he discredited?

And I don’t envision the DWTS producers looking to sign on Filner, Spitzer, or Weiner.

Happy Nomad on September 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Interesting comment at the Chron.

Nearly 20 years later, I hope this wakes up the GOP. The GOP was never stronger than it was under the leadership of Lott, Gingrich, and DeLay…. and the Democrats knew it. The Dems knew they would not be able to beat the Republicans as long as those three were in power, so the Dems launched a 3rd-world style attack of false charges and character assassination.

Trent Lott had to step down because of his comments at a birthday party; comments that hail in comparison to things Democrats have since made.

Gingrich had to step down because of personal improprieties… as Bill Clinton sexually assualted women in the White House (see Kathleen Willey).

DeLay had to endure a corrupt prosecutor bent on carrying out a political vendetta.

All the while, the weak-kneed RINO’s were more than willing to turn on their own – and the party has been in decline since. The lesson learned: go with guys like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and when the Dems try to slime them, tell the Dems to bug off.

Chris of Rights on September 19, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Ham Sandwich vindicated.

Del Dolemonte on September 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Hummmm. Law doesn’t require the Speaker of the House, to be House Rep. Two birds..Justice/Boehner!

Whiterock on September 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM

No competent, unbiased prosecutor would ever have brought these charges.

What the Appeals Court finally ruled was all obvious from the outset, but of course the real purpose of these charges wasn’t to pursue any supposed “criminal” violations, but rather to destroy DeLay’s political career and ruin his life for the next 8 years.

And at that goal, Ronnie Earle succeeded completely.

Tom Servo on September 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

And, of course, to help the Democrats take over the House. Which they did.

It may have been a lousy case legally, but it was highly successful politically.

Seriously, there really should be legal consequences to a political prosecution.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

A blues guitarist had a years long legal grudge with Delay? ;0

Happy Nomad on September 19, 2013 at 1:03 PM

A+

First saw the “other” Ronnie Earle live back in the late 1970s when he was playing with Rhode Island’s Roomful of Blues. He’s still a monster.

As for this Texas Turkey Ronnie Earle, he’s certainly a piece of work. He even indicted himself once!

Del Dolemonte on September 19, 2013 at 1:25 PM

The guilty verdict on the bad dancing charge still stands, however.

Mark1971 on September 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

He was guilty of a far more serious charge: Being Effective While Republican

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM

It may have been a lousy case legally, but it was highly successful politically.

Seriously, there really should be legal consequences to a political prosecution.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

My rule of thumb is this….. If it takes shopping to three grand juries to get an indictment, your case is “weak.”

Happy Nomad on September 19, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The libs that post at the Houston Chronicle are having strokes.

docflash on September 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM

For Houston, that would be an improvement.

Shay on September 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Boehner should resign as Speaker and the House should vote in DeLay as Speaker.

It’s Hammer Time!

Speaker doesn’t have to be a member of Congress to become Speaker.

huckleberryfriend on September 19, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Democrats always out smart Republicans. We don’t think it is worth it to keep after the corruption for this long. So the Democrats get off. But Republicans are always punished for even a hint of anything off. Innocence isn’t good enough if you are a Republican.

petunia on September 19, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Suck on it, Left.

rrpjr on September 19, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Delay got screwed. We knew it at the time.

But you remember none of us really cared?

Because he was a main culprit in blowing out the budget under W.

That’s how he got the votes. Trading favors with Bush.

Keep him out.

budfox on September 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Obamacare was the result of all this. Without corrupt Ronnie Earle falsely persecuting Tom Delay, the Democrats would not have won the House in 2006. Without winning the House in 2006, the Dems could not have passed Obamacare in 2010. Obamacare will lead to the destruction of American liberty.

THAT is the cost of the liberal witch hunt against Tom Delay.

Poetic justice would be for Delay to return to congress and go after these people.

Whitewolf7070 on September 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Just because DeLay bundled $190,000 in corporate contributions which would have been illegal for Texas House candidates to accept and sent them to the RNC, which then distributed the exact same amount to Texas candidates, doesn’t mean that there was an obvious money-laundering strategy in place. Could have been a six-figure coincidence.

And the fact that the judge was fined for accepting am illegal campaign contribution is irrelevant, too.

Honor among thieves apparently exists.

urban elitist on September 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

urban elitist on September 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Bless your heart, you get to be stupid here today.

cozmo on September 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

urban elitist on September 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

If you don’t understand what commingling means you probably shouldn’t comment.

NotCoach on September 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Bless your heart, you get to be stupid here today.

cozmo on September 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Just today?

NotCoach on September 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM

NotCoach on September 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM

He isn’t forced to be here every day.

Must be his turn in the barrel. Though I think he would prefer actually being in the barrel to being here.

cozmo on September 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Come on trolls, you know you wanna crap on this party!

BigAlSouth on September 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Since they didn’t kill him maybe they should start to fear him. He should bring a lawsuit against the county and state, then boot Preibus outta the gop leaders’ chair and start takin’ names.

Kissmygrits on September 19, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Just because DeLay bundled $190,000 in corporate contributions which would have been illegal for Texas House candidates to accept and sent them to the RNC, which then distributed the exact same amount to Texas candidates, doesn’t mean that there was an obvious money-laundering strategy in place. Could have been a six-figure coincidence.

Since you brought it up, you’ve called upon the heart of the Appeals Court’s Decision, even though you didn’t realize that and you certainly didn’t intend to support it.

The original $190,000 contribution was completely legal at the time it was made, since it did not violate any of the restrictions contained in the law. It was also explicitly legal for that money to then be sent to the RNC – there was and is no law of any kind against doing that. And under Texas and Federal Law, it was legal for the RNC to distribute any money they received to Texas House Candidates, no matter the source. That’s how the law was written.

Ronnie Earle and his allies invented a charge of “intent to violate campaign laws” which actually DOES NOT EXIST in any Texas Statute, in order to justify the prosecution. The Appeals Court has ruled that the Prosecution cannot obtain a criminal conviction for acts which were all, in and of themselves, completely legal at the time they occurred. The real problem is that the Texas campaign statutes were (and are) a jumbled, incoherent mess that contractidict themselves and were mainly for show – as Shakespeare said, “more honored in the breach than in the observance.” But a Prosecutor can’t railroad prosecutions through based on what he thinks the law SHOULD be. The Appeals Court has ruled that a Prosecutor cannot take a bad law and change what it ACTUALLY says into what he WISHES it said, and then use his personal wishcasting to try and obtain criminal convictions against his political enemies.

That’s what Ronnie Earle tried to do here, from a legal point of view, and that’s why the Appeals Court slapped him and his office down.

Tom Servo on September 19, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Ronnie Earle couldn’t get his first grand jury to go along, so he pulled a fast one, got a new grand jury and tried again.

TexasDan on September 19, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Just because DeLay bundled $190,000 in corporate contributions which would have been illegal for Texas House candidates to accept and sent them to the RNC, which then distributed the exact same amount to Texas candidates, doesn’t mean that there was an obvious money-laundering strategy in place. Could have been a six-figure coincidence.

urban elitist on September 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

The court didn’t say it was a coincidence. It said that what DeLay did wasn’t a crime. Maybe you think it ought to be a crime, but that doesn’t make it one.

J.S.K. on September 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM

DeLay should run again, just to stick a thumb in the eye of the democratics.

slickwillie2001 on September 19, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Pwned. Note that the Texas Democrats are holding on with both hands to a belligerent, drunk-driving Travis County DA, the hand-picked successor to the Travis County DA who filed the original charges. Travis County (Austin) runs the Public Integrity Unit through the Travis County DA’s office.

Sekhmet on September 19, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Who is in turn now shielding other employees of the DA’s office who have gotten DWI’s. It’s absolutely disgusting.

TexasDan on September 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM

DeLay should run again, just to stick a thumb in the eye of the democratics.

slickwillie2001 on September 19, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Except there’s all that footage now of him dancing.

TexasDan on September 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Of some note:

The commie Travis County (Democrat) nut job Attorney did this crime, he is the Wendy Davis type of nut job Democrat we have to vote down in Texas.

Travis County is pure moon bat nut job commie hippie dope smoking loon Democrat.

No Republican gets a fair trial in that nut job county, it is our one main shame here in Texas..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 19, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I meant to add that the claim of “Money Laundering” was utilized because that charge carried the heftiest criminal penalties. BUT… for “Money Laundering” to apply, the original source of the money HAS to be from Criminal Activity! (drugs, etc, you know the rundown). If the source of the money was legal – and all of the money in question from corporations who all had regulated and monitored financial records, who carefully followed all applicable state snd federal laws in earning their money, then BY DEFINITION, any use of that money is NOT MONEY LAUNDERING UNDER TEXAS MONEY LAUNDERING STATUTES.

The only way this ever made since is from some kind of warped neo-marxist viewpoint which says that all capitalism is theft, so all corporate money must be illegal, therefore any use of corporate money MUST be money laundering!!! It ignores every statutory definition on the books. Earle took this viewpoint and then combined it with the idea that IF this ends up doing something he doesn’t like, even though all laws were followed at every step along the way, then it MUST be illegal! And money now is defined as being “illegal” when Ronnie Earle, long after the fact, says it is “Illegal”, and thus ordinary transactions are magically transformed into “Money Laundering” years after the fact simply on the personal whims of a power-mad prosecutor with a political axe to grind.

Tom Servo on September 19, 2013 at 2:31 PM

tset

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 19, 2013 at 2:34 PM

DeLay’s case should never have gone to trial, much less held in Travis County (Austin).

As previously mentioned, DA Earle had to go to multiple grand juries to get an indictment. Considering that a good DA can get an indict a ham sandwich, I’d say this is an indictment of Earle’s abilities, or prof of his vindictive agenda.

Earle’s chosen successor campaigned on getting DeLay convected. She won the election big time. Anyone besides me thinking ‘tainted jury pool’? Of course the judge refused to allow a change of venue.

Prosecutorial misconduct anyone? Hopefully, DeLay and his legal team are loading up for some massive civil lawsuits against Travis County and the good socialist citizens who live there.

WestTexasBirdDog on September 19, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Ronnie Earle belongs in prison. Travis County needed to be investigated – Federally – after that Dan Rather attempt to alter the outcome of a Federal Election. Dan’s daughter was (is?) a big time Democrat there, and I believe had a home (2nd?) there at the time.

Karmi on September 19, 2013 at 2:48 PM

1 He never would have been convicted in the first place if he were a Democrat.
2 I don’t know the details of DeLay’s trial but most trials are held in urban areas where the juries are mostly Democrats.
3 Pretrial publicity is always anti-Republican because of a biased MSM.

MaiDee on September 19, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

He was the last of the real GOP muscle when I first started paying attention to politics. Let’s just hope if he doesn’t go back in, that he’s active with the conservative revival.

smoothsailing on September 19, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Just because DeLay bundled $190,000 in corporate contributions which would have been illegal for Texas House candidates to accept and sent them to the RNC, which then distributed the exact same amount to Texas candidates, doesn’t mean that there was an obvious money-laundering strategy in place. Could have been a six-figure coincidence.

urban elitist on September 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM

A good deal of the on-line money Obama received came from anonymous credit card accounts. He also received a good amount of foreign donated money. Start your crusade for campaign fiance reform there. I don’t think you’ll get many opposing voices here to stop that sort of shinanigans.

smoothsailing on September 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Joe Bruno, another Republican who should be exonerated.

Connie on September 19, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Is justice really served when political opponents can destroy your life, your wealth, your reputation, only to find out it was all false?
With the likes of Eric holder in the highest office and a Supreme Court stuffed with politically appointed, law-creating/destroying demigods, the rule of law becomes a farce, leaving only unlawful means to serve justice. Unless or until those who prosecute for political purpose, suffer greatly for such gross injustice themselves, it will only become exacerbated.

Don L on September 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Travis County is pure moon bat nut job commie hippie dope smoking loon Democrat.

No Republican gets a fair trial in that nut job county, it is our one main shame here in Texas..

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 19, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Can’t you just give it back to Mexico?

Don L on September 19, 2013 at 4:13 PM

The fact that anyone can be convicted by their political opponents is something all Americans should worry about. Consider the case of former Alabama governor, Don Siegelman, convicted of implied bribery and sitting in a federal prison. Unlike DeLay, Siegelman will likely never be exonerated. It used to be that any kid could grow up to be elected president. Now, anyone can grow up to be convicted by their political opponents.

Alma on September 19, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Mexico has pride therefore they’d never take back Travis County … unless they changed the name to say, Santa Ana County?

Missilengr on September 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

the government has always operated with 2 ideas in mind: pass a law and exempt themselves from it (here in CA, they are famous for this; make the laws so complicated they can get you if they really want to. my second point is supported by the court’s ruling when they said the defendants were attempting to follow the law, not break it. so…. they create a law as complicated as possible; hide in the bushes until an unsuspecting citizen breaks/tries to adhere to the law; and wham…. they got you!!

conservative educator on September 19, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Not only did that despicable DA shop the grand juries after getting “no bills” from the first ones approached, he finally got his indictment in the last 20 minutes of the last day that particular grand jury was seated. That was his last shot to do anything with his kangaroo prosecution. It is just astonishing at this miscarriage of justice.

However, since our pretender in chief ignores the constitution and rule of law every day, we now officially reside in a banana republic. I am disgusted.

karenhasfreedom on September 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Maybe he’ll get back into politics? Return a few favors?

virgo on September 20, 2013 at 3:54 AM

It truly was a miscarriage of justice, and good to see common sense reign in Texas.

That being said, Tom DeLay should remain out of the political spotlight. His reputation being destroyed by the Democrats, there is no way he would ever be seen as an “honest” politician, no matter how many times his new acquittal was brought up … because the Dems will simply point to his conviction, never mind it was politically motivated (and proven to be so).

Even when people are exonerated, the Dems will always point to original convictions to say, see, this Republican is a bad person! Good reputations take years to build and seconds to destroy, and once destroyed can rarely be rebuilt.

falcon on September 20, 2013 at 9:50 AM