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Tom Delay wins on one of the charges June 28, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, drama.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with Delay’s defense team that the conspiracy to violate Texas election code charge doesn’t hold up, because the law wasn’t on the books when his political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, spent about $600,000 of corporate money on consultants, professional fundraisers and pollsters as part of an effort to elect a GOP majority to the Legislature.  The law went into effect in September of 2003, a year after the 2002 elections.

Now, that would seem kinda, I don’t know, what’s the expression I’m looking for here, f’n’ obvious to the casual observer.  The casual observer not being a member of DA Ronnie Earle’s legal team that drew up the charge.  But it was a split decision from the court, 5-4.  I’ll be interested in reading their opinions, and by that I mean imploring one of the legal beagles over at IB to read them and interpret them for us.  Or I’ll call my lawyer buddy this weekend and ax him for the dope.

The other indictments stand, the accusations of money laundering and conspiracy to launder money.  Everybody knows if you freeze your money, you don’t have to clean it so often.

Incidentally, William Jefferson’s brother Mose (a good name for a dog, if you add an “s”) appeared before a grand jury yesterday as part of a federal investigation into an Orleans Parish School Board bribery scandal.  School board member Ellenese Brooks-Simms pleaded guilty to accepting $140,000 in bribes from an unidentified businessman to help secure a lucrative contract for JRL Enterprises, a computer-based education company. Sources close to the case have identified the businessman as Mose Jefferson.

The mind reels.  It’s all legal day here at Dave in Texas.

The gopher-heads keen legal minds at Powerline give a short splanation of Earle’s grand jury shenanigans here.

John Dean over at FindLaw (well actually one of his unnamed sources) suggests it was a mistake for Delay’s attorney (Dick DeGuerin) to file the appeal on the first charge, pulling the trigger too soon and giving Earle a chance to give himself some cover with the second charge, and that the decision yesterday appears to hinge on the long-standing existence of the crime of conspiracy in Texas, regardless of how it was codified into law in 2003.  He questions why the secrecy provision of grand jury proceedings have been flouted by some of the jurors, and reporters they spoke with (the law is as he puts it, blunt, grand jury proceedings shall be secret). 

DeGuerin used that “keep your powder dry” strategy in 94 when he defended Kay Bailey Hutchison, springing the procedural surprise on Ronnie at the last minute, which forced Ronnie to tell the judge he couldn’t bring his case forward.

I’m no lawyer, but I’ll bet that’s something lawyers hate to do.

Oh well.  At least Mike Nifong did Ronnie a solid by winning the “worst damn DA in the country” gold medal.

Good God I’m even boring myself now.  Time for coffee, or “a coffee” as lauraw would say.



1. skinbad - June 28, 2007

Sobek would be proud.

2. daveintexas - June 28, 2007

he is my mentor. when I grow up, I want to be just like him.

3. eddiebear - June 28, 2007

two bass playing lawyers in INTERNET? Is there enough room?

4. PattyAnn - June 28, 2007

I’m sure there’s no way for DeLay to be compensated for his legal expenses for this. I think Earl’s motiviation was 100% politically driven and I’m sure in the futre his payback will be awesome. I left the ending “e” off Earl’s name here just so if he sees it, he’ll be ticked off.

5. PattyAnn - June 28, 2007

I also left out the last “u” in future so everyone would know I was a moron.

6. daveintexas - June 28, 2007

Heh. Ronnie’s got a very well established record of using his office for political hit jobs.

Did you know he was cooperating with a filmmaker about the Delay case while the case is in play? Put out an editorial in the NYT just before the indictments were handed down about Delay and his committee?

He’s brazen. And Austin is nuts.

7. geoff - June 28, 2007

Thanks, Dave – as I said, I was waiting for this post.

8. Wickedpinto - June 28, 2007

pulled the trigger too early?

5 fucking years on charges 6 or more years old is too friggen early?

9. daveintexas - June 28, 2007

Was referring to his defense atty. WP. Some speculate that DeGuerin could have messed up Ronnie’s case when it went to trial by holding off on the challenge regarding the new election conspiracy law. It’s the same tactic DeGuerin used in his defense of Kay Bailey about 12 years ago, last minute switcheroo, that caused Ronnie to have to tell the judge “if you rule this way I can’t take my case forward”.

We’ll see. Obviously Ronnie accomplished what he set out to do, which was kick Delay in the nuts.

10. melhop - June 29, 2007

Well, the conspiracy charge was the only charge against DeLay as the sixth grand jury was in their last day before it was to expire. When Earle handed up the conspiracy charge there were only a few days left before the statute of limitations was to expire. Realizing after the fact that DeGuerin was right, there was no conspiracy law applicable to the election code, Earle then shopped for grand juries — one that handed up a no bill, and then finally found a new grand jury that had only convened for a few hours. So after a three-year investigation and six grand juries Earle got one conspiracy count. Then in four days he got two money laundering counts with only a few hours of presenting evidence? HUH? Remember how the forman of the grand jury did those interviews and said he didn’t look at the evidence, didn’t need to, he just knew he was guilty because he didn’t like the political ads? HUH?

11. PattyAnn - June 29, 2007

As I said over on WP’s kitty blog, sometimes I am ashamed that I live here. But as you said, Dave, it could be worse–I could live in Austin (like that would ever, ever happen).

12. daveintexas - June 29, 2007

When I moved to Texas, the state Treasurer was named Jesse James. He had a predecessor some years earlier named Warren G. Harding.

I knew it was going to be an interesting place.

Texas politics has been bare knuckle for a long long time.

13. Wickedpinto - June 29, 2007

WP’s kitty blog,
It’s your blog too sweaty.

5-6 years is WAY too friggen long, the judiciary should have acted immediately because when the judiciary becomes a tool of legislative manipulation, Both are weakened.

That is kinda what I meant dave.

What I actually did mean is that ronnie and whatever judge allowed this to continue are dicks, but that doesn’t minimize my other statement :)

14. Wickedpinto - June 29, 2007

And “you guys are dicks” isn’t a very valid legal argument.

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