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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Delay’

Judge Pat Priest has sentenced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to three years in prison on the conspiracy charge he was convicted of in November.  Delay was also sentenced to five years in prison on the money laundering conviction but Judge Priest allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of more prison time.

He is expected to appeal and the judge set a $10,000 bond, which means DeLay will likely be a free man until his appeal is complete.

The convictions stem from the 2002 Texas state house elections, when DeLay’s state PAC collected $190,000 in corporate donations and sent the money to the Republican National Committee. The RNC then sent a total of $190,000 to seven Republican state house candidates hand-picked by DeLay’s PAC.

Under Texas law, it is illegal for candidates to use corporate money — raised directly or indirectly — for their campaigns.

Public Citizen wants to acknowledge the work done by Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice and former director of the Texas office of Public Citizen.  His work on tracking the money was key to the initial investigation of Delay and his PAC.

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We’re always pleased to post what’s going on with blogs around the state from our friends at the TPA.  Lots of blog posts seemed to revolve around the conviction of Tom DeLay, which we would like to point out that we posted on first here.

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes you got your recommended allowance of tryptophan last week as it brings you the blog highlights.

Off the Kuff celebrates the DeLay verdict.

Bay Area Houston has a visual suggest to the Judge in the Tom DeLay trial on what to do with DeLay.

Did employers or their representatives provide ‘assistance’ to their employees as they voted in La Joya? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme would really like to know.

Public Citizen over at TexasVox is getting ready for the Sunset hearings on the TCEQ and Railroad Commission coming up December 15-16 by looking at a national report which gives Texas’ regulatory agencies a D-.

Lightseeker raises a red flag over the morphing of the MSM coverage of Tom DeLay’s conviction. In his piece entitled The DeLay verdict – Politics as usual? Crime and Punishment? Why it Matters he argues that this is simply a case study in why we find it so hard to get our message out. Either out of boredom or malice or laziness or simple lack of time or understanding the MSM often carries water for the other side in how they cover/frame important issues. He wonders what can be done?

Republicans in the Texas Legislature filed a series of anti-immigrant bills, so, Stace at DosCentavos asks the question: Are You Willing to Boycott Texas? It’s a serious question that will come up as these bills go through the process and quite possibly get to the floor.

Sen Jeff Wentworth pre-filed legislation for the coming session that eliminates straight-ticket voting. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks he’s a lone voice of reason on the right.

Reverend Manny at BlueBloggin takes an in depth look at freedom of speech. On the whole, the September FBI crackdowns are symbolic, and a local reminder, of an international repressive wave against transparency, criticism and rational, open dialogue. The Front Lines of Reality: An International Perspective on the Battle over Free Speech.

WhosPlayin brings you a video tour of one of the modern drilling rigs that one company is using to drill in urban areas in the Barnett Shale.

Neil at Texas Liberal visited Austin this past week. He enjoyed his late night drive back home to Houston a great deal. Neil liked this ride so much, he wrote a blog post listing seven reasons the ride was so enjoyable.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Tom Delay has been convicted of money-laundering by a Travis County jury.

After three days of deliberation in  former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay‘s corruption trial the jury returned a verdict of guilty.

Tom DeLay‘s defense team, presented five witnesses over two days, resting its case last Thursday.

This was in stark contrast to the prosecution’s case, which included more than 30 witnesses in 10 days. The former Houston-area congressman did not testify. Closing arguments in the trial were delivered on Monday, and jurors began deliberation later that day.

Shortly after convening, jurors sent two notes to the judge, asking him about the charges. “Can it constitute money laundering if the money wasn’t procured by illegal means originally?” one note read.  A second note  questioned whether money laundering can involve funds that were not initially accepted for an illegal purpose.   Judge Priest expressed concern about how to answer the jury’s questions without commenting on evidence in the case.  In the end, he declined to answer the question telling the jury to figure it out for themselves.

Earlier today (the third day of deliberation), the jury asked for multiple copies of the transcript of Tom DeLay’s interview with prosecutors in 2005.  Then later during the day, a question from the jury elicited an instruction from the judge that could have been the final blow to DeLay’s defense.  The jury basically asked whether DeLay had to know about a conspiracy to commit money laundering before it began. Visiting District Judge Pat Priest told them no.

At 5 pm today, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on both charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Currently Delay is out on a previous bond, but his conviction means he faces five years to life in prison on the money laundering charge and two to 20 years on the conspiracy charge.  He also would be eligible for probation.

The sentencing phase of the trial is tentatively scheduled to begin December 20, 2010 and DeLay has chosen to have Senior Judge Pat Priest sentence him.

DeLay’s lawyers intend to appeal the felony criminal conviction.  One thing is clear, he will not be returning to politics anytime soon.

Earlier this year, DeLay tried to get his case moved out of Travis County.  He argued he could not get a fair trial in Austin because of the role he played in the 2003 Texas redistricting efforts.  Obviously the venue change request was denied, and from the outside it seems clear that this Travis County jury took its task to heart, and deliberated fairly and judiciously before bringing back a guilty verdict.

I expect this will be one of our Thanksgiving dinner topics tomorrow.   In the meantime, whether or not you and your loved ones make this a Thanksgiving topic to go along with your holiday turkey (tofurkey for you vegetarions among us) dinner. . . Public Citizen wishes each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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As Public Citizen’s offices close for the Thanksgiving holiday, the jurors in the money-laundering and conspiracy trial of former U.S. House GOP Majority Leader Tom DeLay had still not come back with a verdict. (more…)

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Testimony in Tom DeLay‘s money-laundering trial ended on Thursday, without the former House majority leader testifying and neither DeLay’s chief political aide, Jim Ellis, nor John Colyandro, who ran Texans for a Republican Majority, testified because they are being tried later as co-conspirators.  Closing arguments are set for Monday and with any luck we will have a verdict by the end of next week.

In the meantime, let’s recap this week.

Prosecutors in the political money-laundering case against former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay continued their efforts to build a circumstantial case, but as the sixth day of testimony ended Tuesday, they still had not directly linked DeLay to the alleged scheme.  However, on Wednesday prosecutors presented the jury with statements DeLay made to investigators in 2005, indicating he knew of a $190,000 money swap before it occurred.

(more…)

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Last week we wrote a little about what was happening in the early days of Tom Delay’s criminal trial.  To recap and then sum up last week, in their opening statements, prosecutors said that Tom DeLay took part in a scheme to illegally channel corporate money into Texas legislative races in order to strengthen his power and influence. 

As a result of DeLay’s scheme, Republicans won a majority in the Texas House and then pushed through a congressional redistricting plan engineered by DeLay that would strengthen the Republican hold on Texas. Republicans won a majority in the Texas House in 2002 and congressional redistricting sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004.

The 2003 redistricting was extremely controversial, particularly because of the role played by Delay. Texas had never undertaken redistricting mid-decade without it being ordered by a court. Legal challenges to the redistricting plan were mounted on several fronts. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the statewide redistricting as Constitutional, but struck down Congressional District 23 as being in violation of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition of racial gerrymandering. (more…)

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As the Tom Delay trial got underway, the State’s first two witnesses were Craig McDonald, a former Public Citizen Texas director and now the executive director for Texans for Public Justice, and Austin attorney Fred Lewis, both of whom the defense characterized as being from the left end of the political spectrum which they attempted to capitalize upon.  Twice the defense moved for a mistrial, claiming there was an effort by prosecutors to push political opinions on the jury.  Both motions were ignored by Judge Priest.

Craig McDonald said he focused solely on campaign donations while with Public Citizen and that there were discrepancies between what Texas Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) reported to the Texas Ethics Commission in terms of its income and what Republican National State Election Committee (RNSEC) reported to the IRS.

The defense, in examining McDonald, reviewed 60 candidate names on Public Citizen’s website — only one of which was a Democrat (gubernatorial candidate, Bill White, and that was from a blog on yours truly, Texas Vox, which showed up on the site through an RSS feed).  DeLay, however, was mentioned 100 or more times on the site. But McDonald maintained political neutrality in his testimony, noting that DeLay’s appearance on the website did not mean he was the only subject of Public Citizen’s research. (more…)

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A jury for Tom DeLay‘s money laundering trial was selected quickly last week, but only after the prosecution challenged whether the defense was striking African American jurors without good cause.

The defense cut five African Americans from the jury because, in several instances, he said the would-be jurors appeared angry at him after he had criticized the lead prosecutor, who is black. (more…)

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Jury selection begins today in former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay‘s felony conspiracy trial.  In 2005, A Travis County Grand Jury indicted the former U.S. Congressman on charges he helped funnel $190,000 in illegal corporate donations into statewide elections in 2002.  State law prohibits corporations from contributing to political campaigns.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Texas faces the possibility of real reform on how we draw our districts next time around, hopefully preventing the repeat of the debacle from last time around when a partisan agenda prompted a walkout by members of the Legislature. So, while doing some research about redistricting reform this morning I stumbled upon a “gem” of a “video game.”

Get Your Gerrymander On!

Get Your Gerrymander On!

In Redistricting: The Game, you’re taken through the pitfalls of partisan gerrymandering.  You get to draw your own districts,  put voters in districts based on whether they’re Republican, Democrat, White, Black, Hispanic, etc, bribe people– you know, just like the real process.

It’s not really that spectacular in terms of graphics, gameplay, etc, but it gives you a fair amount of idea what it would be like to have the power to draw the lines for your own purposes.

Play it online (no download required) at http://www.redistrictinggame.org/

Enjoy, and be sure to comment below on how you think redistricting  should be approached.

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