September 30, 2005
DeLayathon Day Three

Via TalkLeft, Tom DeLay's arraignment has been set for October 21. Here's Jeralyn's view as a defense attorney:

A poster at Daily Kos speculates he already has a plea bargain and will plead no contest. He bases this on the Indictment which mentions DeLay's waiver of the statute of limitations (which I referenced in the comments section here) and his having gone in for talks with prosecutors ( discussed here.)

I doubt it. First of all, I don't think Dick DeGuerin was representing DeLay at the time he waived the statute of limitations or when he went in for talks, and that his prior (or newly subjugated) counsel arranged both. This article says DeGuerin only recently has become involved in the case.

DeLay may have believed he could talk himself out of an Indictment, and his white collar defense lawyers arranged for the opportunity. Has nobody learned anything from Martha Stewart? Jails are filled with people who thought if only they could explain themselves, the cops and prosectuors would see it their way.

I surmise that DeGuerin was brought in when it became clear to DeLay's other lawyers there was no way out of an Indictment and no acceptable bargain. (Or, they may have had DeGuerin in "standby mode" in case that occurred.) I think DeLay will fight this case until Earle either gives up like he did with Kay Bailey Hutchison or makes a misdemeanor offer with no jail that he can't afford to turn down.

As 'stina reminds us, Dick DeGuerin is the guy who got Robert Durst acquitted. However good a case Ronnie Earle may or may not have, he's in for a helluva fight.

Tom also analyzes the indictment, which he finds to be on the weak side. If the rumored canary turns up (Jesse nominates fellow indictee Warren RoBold), then we'll have a much better idea how it stacks up. Or maybe we could just listen to DeLay himself and see what he thinks.

Back to DeLay's court date, here's what he may have to expect.

DeLay's attorneys were working out the details of when the 11-term congressman would return to the Texas Capitol in hopes of saving him from further embarrassment, they said.

"What we're trying to avoid is Ronnie Earle having him taken down in handcuffs, and fingerprinted and photographed. That's uncalled for and I don't think that's going to happen," said Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said it is up to the court to decide how DeLay would be arraigned.

DeLay should soon receive a summons ordering him to appear for arraignment, said his attorney Bill White. It was not immediately clear whether DeLay would have to go through booking after responding to the summons.

Travis County allows some defendants to do a "walk-through" booking process, in which he would be photographed and fingerprinted. But his bond amount would be preset so he could immediately pay it and avoid a stay in jail.

DeLay also could waive going before a magistrate to have his rights and charges read to him, said Roger Wade, Travis County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

It also will be up to Earle whether DeLay's mug shot is publicly released.

I rather doubt that Earle would release the mug shot - it's a pretty cheap thing to do, even to Tom DeLay, and would just feed the "partisan vindictiveness" meme. That said, I'll bet a copy of it leaks out and becomes a collector's item. The first person with a Cafepress T-shirt featuring that image will make a fortune.

Also via 'stina, I see that the "Jim Mattox is a Republican who was also unfairly tarred by Earle" defense, first popularized by Houston's own John Culberson, has made it out to the masses. Folks, if you can't tell me who Jim Mattox is, don't drag him into this discussion. Among other things, you'll look like a fool.

Jim Mattox, a former Democratic congressman and Texas attorney general, was charged by Earle with bribery in 1983. Mattox was found not guilty but said he's still "angry and disappointed" by the effect it had on his political career and family.

Still, Mattox called Earle a tenacious person carrying out his responsibilities. "A lesser individual might have given up this fight," he said. "Most people that know Ronnie would not question his integrity."

Via the Chris Bell blog and Greg Wythe.

It's probably just as well that DeLay chose not to appear before the grand jury, given his unreliable memory.

The day after U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's grand jury indictment, his lawyer and the jury foreman on Thursday appeared to contradict the Texas politician's assertions that he was not given a chance to speak before the jury.

The foreman, William M. Gibson Jr., a retired state insurance investigator, said the Travis County grand jury waited until Wednesday, the final day of its term, to indict him because it was hoping he would accept jurors' invitation to testify.

DeLay said in interviews that the grand jury never asked him to testify.

In a Wednesday night appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, he said Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle never talked to him or asked him to testify.

"Never asking me to testify, never doing anything for two years," DeLay said in the interview. "And then, on the last day of his fourth or sixth grand jury, he indicts me. Why? Because his goal was to make me step down as majority leader."

On Thursday, DeLay said in another broadcast interview that he was under the impression that he wasn't going to be indicted because he hadn't been called to testify before the grand jury.

"I have not testified before the grand jury to present my side of the case, and they indicted me," said DeLay, according to the Associated Press.

Dick DeGuerin, the attorney representing DeLay, said Thursday that DeLay actually was invited to appear before the grand jury, where he would have been under oath. The Houston attorney was not yet on the legal team when DeLay was asked to appear, but he said other attorneys advised him not to testify a decision DeGuerin supports.

DeGuerin said that DeLay may have been referring in the interviews to the fact that the grand jury did not subpoena him to testify.

I trust that the next time DeLay appears on camera to charge that he was never given the opportunity to speak before the grand jury, whoever he's talking to will remind him what his lawyer said. Right? Yeah, right.

Well, at least Tom still has his friends. This was sent to my inbox last night:

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow, we are gathering together at the Hess Club to show our
support for Congressman Tom DeLay. We hope you'll join us for this
very special get together (details below and click here for a map.)

Also, we've just added some new information to the Website -- "Ronnie
Earle has a history of using his office for attacks on his political
and personal enemies."

United for DeLay Rally

Friday, September 30
4:00 p.m.


The Hess Club
5430 Westheimer Road
Houston, Texas 77056
(Between Chimney Rock and Sage in the Galleria area)


Sadly, I can't make it. If any of you wants to show him how you feel about all this unpleasantness, however, consider yourself invited.

Last but not least, I think Jay Lee sums up the DeLay situation as well as one possibly could. Thanks to Ginger for the pointer.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 30, 2005 to Scandalized! | TrackBack