Ronnie Earle’s ridiculous, political case against former Rep. Tom DeLay has finally collapsed. 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.”
Ed Morrissey has more at Hot Air.
The prosecution of Tom DeLay was always a persecution. Then Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle (a Democrat) was sharply partisan, known so widely to be so around Texas that many Republicans simply refused to live or buy property in Travis County when he ruled. That didn’t save DeLay, obviously, but the appeals court has now, years and millions of wasted dollars later.
Earle grand jury shopped until he obtained the last-second indictment against DeLay. There should never have been an indictment or a trial at all.
I wrote about the case back in 2005. It was shady then and remains shady now. Earle had brought a left-wing filmmaker named Jim Schermbeck directly into his investigation.
DA Ronnie Earle has allowed this “filmmaker” inside his operation for two years. Earle’s operation has been seeking an indictment of DeLay for that entire time, and grand jury shopped as his first indictment fell apart and deadlines loomed. Now here we are: The first flimsy indictment, which didn’t even allege any specific actual crime had taken place, has fallen apart and that grand jury has dissolved. Grand jury #2 declined to indict. Grand jury #3 indicted, but based on evidence manufactured in Earle’s office. Without that evidence, it’s unlikely grand jury #3 would have indicted DeLay at all.
It’s clear that this isn’t a serious case and will not result in conviction. But it has resulted in a warrant for DeLay’s arrest. Should such an arrest be carried out, Earle’s indictment will result in a grand photo op as DeLay is probably marched in handcuffs, has his mug shot taken and is fingerprinted.
Which brings us back to Schermbeck, the “filmmaker.” What better way to end his anti-DeLay film, The Big Buy, than with that visual of Rep. Tom DeLay, until recently the majority leader in the US House of Representatives, with a number plate tucked under his chin? What better way to cast Republicans, enemies both of Earle and the far left agitator Jim Schermbeck, as corrupt than with that visual? And what better to get that visual than to abuse the power of a district attorney to make sure you have the opportunity to manufacture it?
Much more can be written regarding Mr. Schermbeck, who got his photo op, sort of. DeLay knew what was up and ruined it for his enemies by smiling at them.
Eight years later, the conviction that Earle did get has been overturned. The appeals court noted that even that conviction was the result of poor jury instructions.
Earle has since left office and flirted with delusions of seeking higher some higher office in Texas.
The Travis County DA’s office he left behind is a hot, drunken mess.