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The DeLay conviction won’t stand

To gain a better idea of how credible is the conviction of Tom DeLay, look to the sentencing phase. For that will indicate just how “appealable” the case is. And from the bill of particulars, the odds for vindication on appeal appear to be high.

Mr. DeLay, 63, the one-time powerful Republican House majority leader, was convicted on Wednesday of one count each of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Those were the fallback charges when the Democrat prosecution determined it couldn’t win a campaign-finance violations case.

DeLay and two associates were accused of funnelling $190,000 in corporate donations to state candidates in Texas in 2002 through the Republican National Committee. There was no direct evidence that any laws were broken. And it only bolsters DeLay’s contention that he was targeted for an ensuing GOP victory that allowed Republicans to control the redistricting process.

And while many in the media were quick to trumpet that DeLay could face life in prison, it’s important to note that he could be sentenced to a punishment as little as probation. And if probation is the sentence, it will be the best indicator that this case was political, it likely can be overturned on appeal and the prosecution’s employment of a “novel legal theory” wasn’t novel at all but prosecutory misconduct.


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