Talk about a long deLay: Three years after the 2010 trial, a Texas Court of Appeals has overturned former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s money-laundering conviction. Due to insufficient evidence, he was acquitted of all charges Thursday.
A Texan phoenix, DeLay, 66, was once the Republican Congress’ golden child: he served as everything from House majority leader and top lieutenant to the speaker of the house. That all ended in 2005, when DeLay turned himself in to police in Houston after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of money laundering and conspiracy.
The charges stemmed from an investigation going back to 2002 and accused him of pushing $190,000 of "corporate donations" through a group called Texans for a Republican Majority, a defunct “general-purpose political committee” he set up in 2001 to get his Republican chums elected to the Texas Legislature.
Documents released by the court Thursday said there wasn’t enough evidence to support his conviction. Apparently, he was doing his best to comply with “election code limitations on corporate contributions.” A for effort!
Although he was sentenced to eight years in prison (three for conspiracy charges plus five for money laundering), DeLay remained free while appealing the verdict. He’s proclaimed his innocence the whole time.
That’s not to say he wasn’t a little ruthless: DeLay decried the “decriminalization” of politics while asserting his innocence, but succeeded in getting an appeals court panel judge removed thanks to some anti-Republican comments she let slip. (It’s not for anything his old House nickname was “The Hammer.”)
"He's ecstatic. He's gratified. He's just a little bit numb," DeLay's attorney, Brian Wice said. "I'm hoping with today's victory, he will be able to resume his life as he once knew it."
Guess he can take down his legal fees donation page now.
I’ll leave you with this video of him performing on season nine of Dancing With the Stars (as one does while appealing a verdict).