Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom DeLay: Guilty!

(Make sure to watch Distributorcap's fantastic mashup, posted earlier this evening.)

Here's the good news:

AUSTIN, Tex. — Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives.

After 19 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. DeLay was guilty of conspiring with two associates in 2002 to circumvent a state law against corporate contributions to political campaigns. He was convicted of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

As the verdict was read, Mr. DeLay, 63, sat stone-faced at the defense table. Then he rose, turned, smiled and hugged his wife and then his weeping daughter in the first row of spectators. He faces between 5 and 99 years in prison, though the judge may choose probation.

A few minutes later, Mr. DeLay said outside the courtroom that he would appeal the decision. He called the prosecution a political vendetta by Democrats in the local district attorney's office, and revenge for his role in orchestrating the 2003 redrawing of Congressional districts to elect more Republicans.

"This is an abuse of power," he said. "It's a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain my innocence. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system."

Actually, no, it's what DeLay himself did that undermines American democracy, not a fair trial that resulted in a guilty verdict.

And while I would bet on probation, and while it's not surprising that DeLay will appeal and continues to protest his innocence -- he probably can't even fathom that he did anything wrong, so criminally corrupt is he -- I would just note that he was found guilty by a jury in Texas, where DeLay is likely to find more sympathy than anywhere else, and that there's nothing to suggest that this trial was in any way a "vendetta." 

It's called the rule of law, Tom. It's supposedly the American way, however much you may wish to exempt yourself, and your party, from its application.

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