Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom DeLay Convicted in Corruption Case - Headed to Prison

I don't think they have "Dancing with the Stars" in prison...or perhaps that should be "Dancing with the Corrupt Politicians". He may have to dance, duck & dodge to survive in Texas though. I don't think Texas has any "nice" minimum security prisons. My guess is, there will be a deal to house him in a Federal facility or he will end up getting some sort of community based supervision. Although he could get 99 years, the actual sentence won't be anything close to that unfortunately.

Justice took too long in this case. Being rich and powerful affords you the ability to delay Justice. The case should have been concluded a long time ago. The country (the small percentage of people who actually pay attention to this stuff...10% perhaps) has forgotten about Tom DeLay.... but this is still a good story because it sends the message that these jackasses don't always get away with it. Sometimes they go to jail. And it could be the starting point for a serious discussion about reforming the inherently corrupt political system.... I know... that's not very likely to happen. I am more likely to find a great job, find the woman of my dreams and actually live a wonderful, fruitful life as a Black man in America, than I am to see any significant reform of the corrupt U.S. political system during my lifetime. It's definitely not going to happen with Republicans in charge - the GOP is one big brothel full of corporate whores. But this case could at least add to the debate about why the system needs to be fixed. DeLay wasn't some greedy character who acted on his own or operated outside of the cultural norms of Congress. Instead, his quid pro quo activities were encouraged and facilitated by the system in place at the time.

From the New York Times

AUSTIN, Tex. — Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful and divisive Republican lawmakers ever to come out of Texas, was convicted Wednesday of money-laundering charges in a state trial, five years after his indictment here forced him to resign as majority leader in the House of Representatives.

After 19 hours of deliberation, a jury of six men and six women decided that Mr. DeLay was guilty of conspiring with two associates in 2002 to circumvent a state law against corporate contributions to political campaigns. He was convicted of one charge of money laundering and one charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

As the verdict was read, Mr. DeLay, 63, sat stone-faced at the defense table. Then he rose, turned, smiled and hugged his wife and then his weeping daughter in the first row of spectators. He faces between 5 and 99 years in prison, though the judge may choose probation.

A few minutes later, Mr. DeLay said outside the courtroom that he would appeal the decision. He called the prosecution a political vendetta by Democrats in the local district attorney’s office, and revenge for his role in orchestrating the 2003 redrawing of Congressional districts to elect more Republicans.

“This is an abuse of power,” he said. “It’s a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain my innocence. The criminalization of politics undermines our very system.”

The verdict ends the latest chapter in a long legal battle that forced Mr. DeLay to step down. The trial also opened a window on the world of campaign financing, as jurors heard testimony about large contributions flowing to Mr. DeLay from corporations seeking to influence him, and about junkets to luxury resorts where the congressman would rub shoulders with lobbyists in return for donations.
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