US: DeLay lawyers seeking a retrial
Publicado el Feb 10, 2011
Chron.- Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's legal team on Wednesday filed a motion asking for a retrial for the former congressman, convicted last November on charges of money laundering and conspiracy.
The motion, filed by DeLay's attorney Dick DeGuerin, seeks a new trial, citing juror misconduct, misapplication of the state's election code and the potential unconstitutionality of Texas' ban on corporate campaign contributions.
"A motion for a new trial sets aside the verdict; so it's not just the new trial, it's setting aside the verdict, which we don't think is just." DeGuerin said. "It gets down to the basics that there wasn't a crime. There wasn't a crime alleged and there wasn't a crime committed."
The Travis County District Attorney's office called the motion groundless.
"We oppose the motion and we don't think any real legal grounds are alleged to disturb the verdict and accept the motion for a new trial," said Steve Brand, a prosecutor who worked on the case. He declined further comment.
The case centered on $190,000 in campaign contributions to seven candidates for the Texas House.
DeLay's legal team argued that the money laundering statutes used by the prosecution were not applicable because the $190,000 in corporate campaign donations made to the Republican National Committee by DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, was put in a separate account than the $190,000 in individual contributions that the RNC donated to seven candidates running for the Texas House in 2002.
Prosecutors argued that money laundering statutes had been violated because the money was fungible.
They pointed out that when TRMPAC made the $190,000 donation of corporate contributions to the RNC it was accompanied by a list of names of seven candidates for the Texas House and specified how much money each was to receive. The RNC then donated a total of $190,000 to those candidates using funds donated by individuals.
Texas law bars contributions to candidate campaigns by corporations.
"There was not another PAC in the state of Texas that behaved anything remotely like TRMPAC," said Andrew Wheat, of Texans for Public Justice, which filed the initial complaint into TRMPAC's activities.
DeLay is free on bail pending appeal. He was sentenced to three years in prison for the conspiracy conviction and 10 years probation for money-laundering.
A pretrial hearing for DeLay's two co-defendants, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, is scheduled for March 10.