DeLay is charged with money laundering during the 2002 elections. Prosecutors say he used his Texas PAC to funnel $190,000 in corporate donations (which are illegal in Texas) through the Republican National Committee and back to several Texas state house candidates. Republicans took back the state house that year, directly leading to DeLay's successful redistricting plan that put more Texan Republicans in the U.S. House.
His trial began this Monday. It's expected to last three weeks, and after that, DeLay says he plans to take public his behind-the-scenes role in rebuilding the conservative movement, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
"Once I get this trial off my back, I'll be more involved," he said.
At the trial, DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, has argued that the money from corporations was always kept separate from the funds that went to candidates.
"There is proof the corporate funds never came to Texas," DeGuerin told the judge this week, at a moment when the jury was outside the courtroom.
But Texas Judge Pat Priest rejected the claim, saying separate accounts wouldn't matter if prosecutors prove that DeLay intended to launder the money.
"I don't care if you put it in one pocket and took money out of the other pocket," he said. "Money is absolutely fungible. It's like beans."
Several witnesses have been called to the stand, according to local news reports, including former employees of his PAC, such as his daughter Danielle DeLay Garcia. The staffers testified that DeLay didn't have a major role in the day-to-day operations of the PAC.
The PAC's former treasurer testified that the PAC regularly took money from corporations, but said they only used it on administrative costs, which is allowed under Texas law.