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WP: Judge sentences Tom DeLay to 3 years in prison


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/10/AR2011011000557.html?hpid=topnews

Judge sentences Tom DeLay to 3 years in prison

By JUAN A. LOZANO

The Associated Press

Monday, January 10, 2011; 3:30 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- A judge ordered U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to serve three years in prison Monday for his role in a scheme to illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

The sentence comes after a jury in November convicted DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. DeLay was once one of the most powerful men in U.S. politics, ascending to the No. 2 job in the House of Representatives.

Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced him to the three-year term on the conspiracy charge. He also sentenced him to five years in prison on the money laundering charge but allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of more prison time.

The former Houston-area congressman had faced up to life in prison. His attorneys asked for probation.

Senior Judge Pat Priest issued his ruling after a brief sentencing hearing on Monday in which former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert testified on DeLay's behalf.

Prosecutors attempted to present only one witness at the hearing, Peter Cloeren, a Southeast Texas businessman who claimed DeLay had urged him in 1996 to evade campaign finance laws in a separate case. Prosecutors said the case was similar to the one DeLay was being sentenced for.

But not long after Cloeren began testifying, Senior Judge Pat Priest declined to hear the testimony, saying prosecutors couldn't prove the businessman's claims beyond a reasonable doubt.

"You lose. I will not hear this testimony," Priest said after agreeing with DeLay's attorneys, who objected to the testimony, saying the former lawmaker was not criminally charged in the case. Cloeren pleaded guilty to directing illegal corporate money into the 1996 congressional campaign of an East Texas candidate.

DeLay's attorneys had indicated they would have up to nine witnesses but decided to present only Hastert.

Hastert, an Illinois Republican who was House speaker from 1999 to 2006, testified that DeLay was not motivated by power but for a need to help others. Hastert talked about DeLay's conservative and religious values, his efforts to provide tax relief for his constituents in Texas, his work helping foster children and the help he provided to the family of one of the police officers who was killed in a 1998 shooting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

"That's the real Tom DeLay that a lot of people never got to see," Hastert said.

Lead prosecutor Gary Cobb asked Hastert if one of DeLay's religious and conservative values was taking acceptance for doing wrong. Hastert said he hasn't personally heard DeLay take responsibility for the actions that resulted in his conviction.

DeLay's lawyers have also submitted more than 30 character and support letters from friends and political leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and eight current U.S. congressmen. Most of the letters ask for leniency in the sentencing.

DeLay was once one of the most powerful men in U.S. politics, holding the No. 2 job in the House of Representatives.

After a month-long trial in November, a jury determined that he conspired with two associates to use his Texas-based political action committee to send $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee. The RNC then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can't go directly to political campaigns.

Prosecutors claim the money helped Republicans take control of the Texas House. That enabled the Republican majority to push through a Delay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004, strengthening DeLay's political power.

DeLay contended the charges were politically motivated and the money swap in question was legal. DeGuerin says DeLay committed no crime and believes the convictions will be overturned on appeal.

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Which prison?

I hope it's a real one, and not one of those nice vacation prisons people like him usually go to.

~Bang

Are you kidding me? He's definitely going to a nice vacation spot detention center. You really want to read about Tom Delay getting knifed by an aryan in the shower? I had a buddy in one of those centers... Take it from me; they aren't a cake walk either. They are safe but you constantly have to keep on your toes. Any trouble will land you into a real prison and there are plenty of folks in those non violent offender sites who are like land mines. Trouble waiting to happen.

I think it's very telling that Tom Delay got about the same sentence as Jack Abramoff. Abramoff was once linked to 200 cases of bribing congress, and a murder; but he walked with only 4 years and only one congressmen went down with him that I can remember.

---------- Post added January-10th-2011 at 04:05 PM ----------

He will likely only be held in jail till a appeal bond is set

If he got three years he will do at least two in federal lock up. Then if he opts to get into a substance abuse program and get's time off for good behavior he'll get another two years of home detention meeting with his parrol officer. He's in for some hard times.

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What about Rangel ?

Rangel might not even get tossed out of the congress. He violated house ethic rules, not the criminal code like Delay. Rangle got centured which amounted to a public scolding. Prison time is no comparison, even in the low security place Delay is going.

Welll we will know for sure in what another five years. That's how long it took them to deal with Delay. Coarse the GOP didn't chuck him out of the congress after he got indited. Remember the Republicans changed their ethic laws to allow him to still serve while under inditement. bet that has to be embarrassing to think back upon! I believe the GOP never tossed him, the voters ended up doing so.

---------- Post added January-10th-2011 at 05:26 PM ----------

well, he should be in jail too.

The "ethics committee'... what a crock.

~Bang

I don't think Rangle deserves to be in jail. I don't think their was any comparison between Rangle offenses and Delay's....

I actually thought that Congressman William J. Jefferson would be a better example of a corrupt democrat. Coarse he was convicted back in 2009, and his offenses amounted to corruption for personal gain alone. Delay was more about subverting the democratic process; which is an order of magnatude worse.

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I actually thought that Congressman William J. Jefferson would be a better example of a corrupt democrat. Coarse he was convicted back in 2009, and his offenses amounted to corruption for personal gain alone. Delay was more about subverting the democratic process; which is an order of magnatude worse.

Delay should be in jail solely for the "K Street Project," but that would be asking too much. :)

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I actually thought that Congressman William J. Jefferson would be a better example of a corrupt democrat. Coarse he was convicted back in 2009, and his offenses amounted to corruption for personal gain alone. Delay was more about subverting the democratic process; which is an order of magnatude worse.

Curious that you think bribery isn't subverting the democratic process...been overseas too much?:ols:

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Thing is, I think we should all cheer if a crooked politician gets caught and pays the price. It shouldn't matter in the least what letter they put after their name. Delay getting his is a good thing. I think there are a number of others who deserve the same. That Dem who was hiding bribe money in his freezer comes to mind though I'm blanking on his name at the moment. I think Charlie Rangel is a reasonable target on the Dem side. Dick Cheney is another one that comes to mind. If for no other reason... arson.

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Of note, fellow republicans, the first 11 paragraphs of this story are posted in the OP, and not once does the *gasp* Washington Post mention DeLay's party affiliation. It can obviously be inferred, well, with the first mention of Texas :ols: and later when it talks about the GOP, but it's not spelled out the way "we" always say it is when it's "us" that's in trouble.

Just an observation. :)

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