Saturday, November 27, 2010

DeLay convicted of money laundering charges

From the Houston Chronicle:

AUSTIN — Eight years after former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay helped engineer a Republican takeover of the Texas House and state congressional delegation, a Travis County jury Wednesday convicted him of felony money laundering in the 2002 elections.

DeLay, of Sugar Land, was convicted in a scheme to funnel corporate donations to seven Texas House candidates through a money swap with the Republican National Committee. Corporate money cannot legally be donated to candidates in Texas.

He faces two to 20 years in prison on a conspiracy charge and five to 99 years or life on a money laundering charge. He is free on bail, with sentencing tentatively set for Dec. 20.

DeLay and his family did not react when the verdict was read. But after the court was dismissed, DeLay received a hug and kiss from his wife, Christine. His adult daughter, Dani DeLay Garcia, buried her face against his shoulder and began sobbing. DeLay's face turned red as he fought back tears.

Defense attorney Dick DeGuerin called the verdict "a terrible miscarriage of justice" and pledged to appeal. "I'm very, very disappointed. This will never stand up."

DeLay, as from the outset, said the case was all politics.


...not with a bang but a whimper. Heh.

DeGuerin is one of the best lawyers in Texas, or at least, he has one of the best reputations, so he may very well be right when he asserts that "this will never stand up." I don't know. This kind of case is said to be difficult to prosecute, and right-wing critics have a point when they observe that Travis County, where the case was tried, is much more liberal than the rest of Texas. So I guess we'll wait and see.

But they did get him. And for that I'm really happy. And hopeful that the conviction sticks.

DeLay is a total scum bag. The kind of guy who thinks it's okay to do something totally anti-democratic if you can get away with it. Just remember the political context back in 2002 when he committed his crime. The Republicans, led in part by DeLay, had only four years earlier impeached a popular President on frivolous charges. Two years after that, they
literally stole the White House from Democrat Al Gore. A year later, a twist of fate known as 9/11 had dropped shitloads of political capital right into the GOP's lap. The Republicans then proceeded to whip the nation into a bloodthirsty war frenzy and the invasion of Iraq was just a few months away. They were riding high, convinced they could do anything.

And if the law wasn't on their side, why, they would just rewrite it so that it was. Why not? That's what they did in Texas with the redistricting scheme that got them the House, but also resulted in DeLay's downfall.

If the former Lizard King is completely convinced that he's being railroaded, it's no surprise. His party's arrogance, pretty intense right now, but in the stratosphere at that point, and especially his arrogance, really do translate into a sense that Republicans are literally above the law, and should never have to answer for their misdeeds simply because they're Republicans. These aren't crocodile tears DeLay is shedding: he really does think the liberals are out to get him.

The sad truth for the disgraced former Congressional leader is that, whatever the outcome of the appeals process, the liberals have already gotten him. Well, the liberals and the Texas state judicial system. Okay, just the judicial system. But the point is that DeLay's not coming back. He's out. And all the stinky reptilian baggage he now carries makes any political second act extremely unlikely.

In many ways, the trial is just a coda.