Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), who has long argued that his indictment on money laundering charges was politically motivated, said on the “Today Show” this morning that his conviction was political, too.
“I was tried in the most liberal county in the state of Texas and, indeed, in the United States,” he said, referring to Travis County, the home of Austin. DeLay and his lawyers had tried to get his trial moved to a different, more conservative county, to no avail.
“The foreman of the jury was a Greenpeace activist,” DeLay went on. “So, I’m not criticizing the jury. The point is this is a political campaign.”During the trial, DeLay told reporters he trusted the jury to acquit him, saying liberals are more empathetic. “I know them like they’re my brothers and sisters,” he said.
The charges stem from the 2002 statehouse elections. DeLay’s state PAC collected $190,000 in corporate donations that cycle, which it donated to the RNC. The RNC, in turn, donated a total of $190,000 to seven Republican statehouse candidate hand-picked by Delay’s PAC. Corporate donations for political campaigns are illegal in Texas.
DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, also appeared on the show and revealed a bit of his appeal strategy. DeGuerin said he would use the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which legalized direct corporate donations in federal elections. But he also said that the money wasn’t corporate, anyway.
DeLay was indicted in 2005, three years after the election. The then-district attorney, Ronnie Earle, had to use multiple grand juries before he won an indictment against DeLay, which DeLay says is proof that the charges are flimsy and politically motivated.
“This was a political prosecutiion,” DeGuerin said. “He was prosecuted because he was so successful in bringing about redistricting in Texas.”
The prosecutors “made the jury hate politicians,” he said.
The seven state house candidates in 2002 won, giving Republicans the state legislature and allowing a pro-Republican redistricting orchestrated by DeLay. The redistricting, in turn, sent more Texas Republicans to the U.S. House, strengthening DeLay’s power there.