**UPDATE Wed. 11/24** Well, THAT sure didn’t take long:
A Texas jury has convicted former House majority leader Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, on money laundering and conspiracy charges.
DeLay, a former No. 2 House GOP leader, faces five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the money laundering charge.
Best part? This:
He appeared shocked, according to the Austin American-Statesman , when jurors reported their findings one by one. Sentencing is set for Dec. 20.
Yeah. I’ll bet you were shocked, Tom. You really thought you’d never get caught. No, wait, it was more than that. You always had an oily, sanctimonious certitude about you that’s unique to entitled Republicans of your stripe. Richard Nixon himself perhaps summed up that greasy, faux-holy smugness best when he slipped up and said on tape that “when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” A garden-variety criminal who merely fancies his own skill enough that he thinks he won’t get caught is at least already admitting up front, by definition, that he’s violated the law – even if he doesn’t care or is proud to have done so. But with you, Tom, whether it was in your halcyon days as a power broker – maybe THE power broker – in DC, or when you were in the dock on fraud and corruption charges, it was clear you truly believed not only that your particular shit didn’t stink, but also that if anyone else thought differently, they’d never be able to convince a jury otherwise and you’d never get so much as a scratch on you for (what you never really considered to be) your crimes. That’s why onlookers reported you looked “shocked” when the verdict was read.
It restores some of my faith in America to find out you were wrong. Have fun in the slam, jerk, even if it is only a couple of years.
Original post below the fold:
Uh-oh. Looks like Tom Delay (or his lawyers) can’t keep their lies straight:
Tom DeLay’s own evidence turned against him Wednesday as a calendar showed the former U.S. House Majority leader in a meeting with a key political aide two hours after the man received the check used in an alleged $190,000 political money laundering scheme. DeLay, R-Sugar Land, contends he did not learn of a corporate money swap between his Texans for a Republican Majority and the Republican National Committee until political aide Jim Ellis told him of it on Oct. 2, 2002… …Travis County prosecutor Beverly Mathews got Bos to confirm under cross examination that Ellis also was in a group of people who had a 1-2:30 p.m. grass-roots planning meeting with DeLay Sept. 11, 2002, in his congressional leadership office. Mathews noted that the meeting occurred shortly after Ellis received a blank TRMPAC check that was used in the money exchange. “I just missed that one,” DeGuerin said sheepishly afterward, noting he only had obtained the calendar on Sunday. “The (Sept. 11) meeting was with a bunch of other people.”
Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark. It’s been clear for some time that Delay was one of the sleazier political operators to come along in quite some time. Also one of the most partisan. Under his watch, the normal (but still sleazy) lobbying done on the infamous “K Street” in DC turned explicitly and heavily Republican. Delay was notorious for instituting a virtual pay-to-play atmosphere: you want access (under the then-Republican-controlled House and Senate)? You go through Tom Delay and give money to who he tells you to. It was also under Delay’s watchful eye that the Abramoff scandals flourished and debacles like the Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham (aka ”most corrupt member of congress EVER”) sting occurred.
Delay is equally famous for his complete lack of either shame or gall, continuing to insist well into the federal investigation into his corruption that he was completely innocent. When the federal investigation ended without being able to produce enough evidence to justify the cost of a trial against Delay, he immediately took a victory lap of the political news shows, repeating his claim of complete innocence and all but taunting his “enemies.” What Delay either seemed to forget himself, or possibly was merely trying to convince everyone else to forget or ignore, is that our justice system never specifically pronounces defendants “innocent.” They pronounce them “not guilty” for a reason: namely, that prosecutorial failing to win the case against a defendant doesn’t prove (s)he didn’t commit the crimes with which (s)he was accused, only that it could not be proven that (s)he committed them (remember the OJ trial?).
With yesterday’s monumental screw-up on the part of his lawyers, however, it is looking ever more likely that Delay will not, in fact, be able to escape the justice which he so richly deserves many times over. Nothing’s certain until the trial’s over, of course, but there finally appears to be enough hard, indisputable evidence that Delay is provably guilty of at least one of the many crimes he almost certainly committed during his time as “The Hammer” in the house of representatives. If Tom Delay is unable to repeat the greasy weaseling-out-of-the-trap he managed in the federal case against him, it will be, like the Duke Cunningham conviction and the Bob Ney conviction and the Jack Abramoff conviction and numerous others, yet another vindication that the sneering perversion of government which was very clearly happening on television screens and newspapers throughout the country during the 2002-06 years did, in fact, happen; that it wasn’t just a figment of our imagination. And no amount of brassy, bald-faced denial of reality from Tom Delay will suffice to stop it.