Ronnie Earle and the new charges against DeLay

Via the NYTimes:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 – A grand jury in Texas issued a second indictment on Monday against Representative Tom DeLay, accusing the Texas Republican and two aides of money laundering in a $190,000 transaction that prosecutors have described as a violation of the state’s ban on the use of corporate money in local election campaigns.

The indictment was announced without warning on Monday in Austin, the state capital, after lawyers for Mr. DeLay went to court earlier in the day to ask that the original conspiracy indictment be dismissed on technical grounds. Mr. DeLay was forced to step down temporarily as House majority leader as a result of that indictment last week.

The interesting part of the article:

Without an explanation from the prosecutors, local criminal law specialists seemed perplexed by Mr. Earle’s actions, saying they may reflect an effort by the prosecutor to ensure that some charge sticks to Mr. DeLay even if the conspiracy indictment is dimissed.

George E. Dix, a law professor at the University of Texas and a specialist in criminal procedures, speculated that prosecutors "saw a potential problem" with the conspiracy counts "and didn’t want to hassle over it, so they went with a legal theory on money laundering that wouldn’t present the same problems." He said if that was the case, it could be embarrassing to Mr. Earle because "it is a little awkward to have to change a theory before your horse is out of the gate."

The essential allegations are identical in the new and old indictment – that Mr. DeLay and his aides transferred $190,000 in corporate donations from a Texas political action committee to the Republican National Committee in September 2002, and that it was returned to individual Republican candidates for the Texas state house. A century-old ban in Texas prohibits the use of corporate money in the campaigns of state candidates.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is little more than a political witch hunt. The more I read about this, the more I feel that once legal  proceedings for these charges run their course, DeLay will be vindicated.   I know DeLay has been cited for ethics violation in the House in the past, but violating an ethics code in the House and violating the law aren’t the same thing.

Gary at Boxer Watch examines the info from NYTimes piece thoroughly and has come to this conclusion regarding Earle’s actions:  "This is comical."

John at Powerline:

The reprehensible Ronnie Earle admitted in a press conference on September 28 that he wasn’t able to get a "money laundering" indictment out of the grand jury that had been sitting in this matter for goodness knows how many months. Now, in a matter of hours, he has gotten a brand new grand jury to return such an indictment–ex parte, with the grand jury hearing from no one but Earle and, presumably, a witness or two. It might be possible to imagine a more partisan, corrupt prosecutor than Ronnie Earle, but that’s a thought experiment I’d rather not conduct.


Will Ronnie Earle go on the radio to try to defend his abuse of power? Don’t hold your breath. It is a scandal that he still holds a position of responsibility in Travis County. I know that ethics complaints, etc., have been filed against Earle for his misconduct, and an effort is underway to bar him from the practice of law. But the real solution is for the electorate to turn him out of office. The man is a disgrace to honest lawyers everywhere.


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