Thursday, October 06, 2005

Third Time's the Charm!

If you haven't been watching the news you might not have heard about former Majority Leader Tom DeLay's legal problems. It seems as if a county district attorney in Texas has it out for 'ol Tom:

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle acknowledged that prosecutors presented their case to three grand juries - not just the two they had discussed - and one grand jury refused to indict DeLay.

That's three - count 'em - three grand juries. To summarize: Ronnie Early went to grand jury #1. After six months they indicted DeLay on a conspiracy charge, then their term was over. Ronnie then went to grand jury #2 on their last day - they refused to indict DeLay on anything (in most states, when a grand jury fails to indict, you're finished - you can't go to another grad jury. It's a kind of "double jeopardy" thing...) Then Ronnie went to grand jury #3 on their first day, and they indicted DeLay on counts of money laundering.

In addition, the problems here are numerous. Problem #1 is that the campaign finance law that DeLay was indicted for conspiring to ignore was not in place until 2003; the particular transfer of funds he took part of occurred in 2002. Problem #2 is that the statute of limitations on conspiracy in Texas is 15 months. This is why Ronnie went on a grand jury shopping spree - the first indictment meant nothing - other than Delay had to step down as majority leader (which I assume was the idea.)

This is the most shady version of law-mongering to politically attack someone I have ever heard of.

1 comment:

slowpitch said...

Friends of both people are calling this a "showdown" (at high noon in the OK corral?) and even friends of Earle are predicting he'll lose on every count. Earle deLayed his retirement for a year to pursue this case and there's nothing there, but he can't let go after making a national scene out of things.

Hmmm...prediction: will the NYT, LA Times, WaPo vindicate DeLay and admit he was harassed or claim he was declared innocent on 'legal technicalities'?