(Some puns are simply irresistible.)
The evidence in DeLay’s 2010 trial for money laundering to influence an election was ruled “legally insufficient to sustain DeLay’s convictions.” In other words, the case should never have been brought in the first place. The offenses were alleged to have occurred during a 2002 campaign.
I’m not a DeLay fan, although I wish we had more people in Congress now with his toughness. But neither am I a fan of trumped-up politically-motivated charges. Remember Ted Stevens of Alaska?
I didn’t follow the DeLay trial closely at the time, nor do I see a lot of detail about the evidence now, so I don’t know whether I think it was sufficient or not. But, looking up a few facts, I see that the decision to file charges was made by Travis County (includes very-liberal Austin) DA Ronnie Earle. And looking at Earle’s Wiki entry, I see that Earle is a Democrat, and that he has prosecuted several Texas Republican political figures in addition to DeLay, although DeLay was his only conviction.
In the DeLay matter:
For over two years, Earle and eight separate grand juries investigated possible violations of Texas campaign finance law in the 2002 state legislative election. Earle denies that his pursuit of Delay was part of a “fishing expedition.” His investigation of two political action committees that spent a combined $3.4 million on 22 Republican Texas House races focused on a political action committee founded by DeLay, (Texans for a Republican Majority PAC). During the investigation, DeLay charged that Earle was a “runaway district attorney” with “a long history of being vindictive and partisan”.
On September 28, 2005, the grand jury indicted DeLay for conspiring to violate Texas state election law. Texas prohibits corporate contributions in state legislative races. The indictment charged that Texans for a Republican Majority, DeLay’s PAC, accepted corporate contributions, laundered the money through the Republican National Committee, and directed it to favored Republican candidates in Texas. The presiding Democrat judge in the case, Pat Priest, eventually threw out this charge and the Court of Criminals Appeals upheld his decision in 2007.
Earle failed in a second attempt to secure new indictments against DeLay. That grand jury returned a “no bill” due to insufficient evidence according to at least one grand jury member. That member also claimed the “no bill” visibly angered Earle.
It goes on in some detail; read the whole thing. This certainly has the appearance of having been a politically-motivated pursuit and trial.
And you know what? As in the Stevens case, it worked. DeLay’s gone from political office, isn’t he?
Unless the state appeals the ruling, this means that DeLay cannot be retried on the charges. The court could have ordered a new trial if it restrained its scope to just procedural issues. However, the court apparently believed that the prosecution simply couldn’t make a case for wrongdoing, and as a result took the relatively rare step of overturning a jury’s findings on guilt.
That's pretty strong.
The man who should be under scrutiny now is Ronnie Earle, whose years-long legal grudge match against DeLay and other Texas Republicans has been thoroughly discredited by the appellate court.
That would be by the mechanism of charging Earle with prosecutorial misconduct, and I have no idea whether this case or any of the others rises to that level. In addition, I'm not sure who would have standing to bring the charges---my guess is that it would be Earle's successor, who apparently shares his political persuasions.]