Ed Driscoll

Tom DeLay's Conviction Overturned

“Ronnie Earle’s ridiculous, political case against former Rep. Tom DeLay has finally collapsed,” Bryan Preston writes at the PJ Tatler. “An appeals court has not only overturned DeLay’s conviction, but has ordered him acquitted of all charges:”

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court tossed the criminal conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Thursday, saying there was insufficient evidence for a jury in 2010 to have found him guilty of illegally funneling money to Republican candidates.

DeLay was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for helping illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but his sentence was on hold while his case made its way through the appellate process.

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals said the evidence was “legally insufficient,” and in a 2-1 ruling decided to “reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal.”

Beyond Delay himself, the damage has been significant to the country. As Glenn Reynolds noted yesterday, the circus atmosphere the left created to gin up DeLay’s 2005 conviction was a key bit of battlefield preparation. It set the stage for the Democrats’ takeover of both houses of Congress the following year, which arguably helped to set in motion the economic collapse that led to the arrival of Barack Obama as president in January of 2009.

On a more minor note, the legendary photo of DeLay that accompanied his conviction ushered in the era of modern celebrity mugshots. DeLay knew his photo would appear in hundreds of newspapers and would be gleefully published by thousands of leftwing blogs, not to mention would very likely play a prominent role in DNC election propaganda the following year. So rather than standing there with the standard-issue frown seen in all mugshots since the days of Bonnie and Clyde, DeLay very wisely produced the biggest grin possible, thus taking all of the joy out of the moment for the left.

Will DeLay still be smiling after the dust settles from yesterday’s acquittal? Based on what Ed Morrissey wrote at Hot Air

Quite frankly, that deconstruction is so complete that it would be difficult to imagine the Texas Supreme Court overturning any of it — and a successful appeal would have to hope that the court overturns all of it, or at least enough to get a new trial.  I’d predict that the directed verdict of acquittal will send a strong enough message to dissuade prosecutors from trying it again.

DeLay joins the late Ted Stevens as two members of Congress recently prosecuted for corruption to be later vindicated in appeals to original convictions.  William Jefferson, who was prosecuted in the same time frame, lost all of his appeals and will be in prison for at least the next ten years.  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.

….Survey says: Yes.