From the very first post at the old place, we have steadfastly maintained that charges related to money laundering against former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Abramoff) were without merit. Mr. DeLay's recent conviction does not change that view. This verdict is a miscarriage of justice. Every single transaction was legal -- TRMPAC money to the RNC and RNC money to seven Texas House candidates (including widely respected former Pearland representative Glenda Dawson) were all legitimate. It seems to us that there can't be money laundering in a series of legal transactions.
But there just might be a silver lining related to this miscarriage of justice. Details related to Mr. DeLay's very real Washingon-based corruption may be revealed during the sentencing phase. From Juan Lozano of the Associated Press:
The sentencing hearing, which is set to begin Dec. 20, will feature "numerous witnesses who will talk about the other acts of corruption that Tom DeLay has committed," lead prosecutor Gary Cobb said. The defense, which called only five witnesses during the trial compared to 30 for the prosecution, also could present testimony in the penalty phase.
We didn't paid a lot of attention to the state trial since there didn't seem to be any underlying crime. We're convinced that an appeals court will rightly determine that the Texas money laundering statute was wrongly applied in this case and that DeLay's conviction will be overturned. (We're also convinced that those who'd like to criminalize their political opponents will howl about the future appeals court decision.)
There typically isn't anything good about a travesty of justice, and there's no doubt that the cost of former Travis County Ronnie Earle's corruption of the judicial process has been exceedingly high to Mr. DeLay and his family. It would have been preferable to learn more about Mr. DeLay's real crimes from the Department of Justice. But if we learn more about the corrupt acts from witnesses such as Ed Buckham, Chris Perkins and Tim Berry at DeLay's Austin-based sentencing, we're all ears.
*** Update ***
November 30, 2010
1:46 a.m. CST
The editorial board of the Washington Post makes a similar point regarding the verdict. But the WaPo doesn't seem as eager as I am to learn new facts during the sentencing phase.