October 05, 2005
New evidence, new indictment?

The word from the Travis County DA Ronnie Earle's office regarding the latest indictment against Tom DeLay was that it was the result of new evidence.

Earle said the grand jury that indicted DeLay last week on the last day of its term "declined to indict" on charges other than conspiracy to violate the election code.

Earle said in a statement that "additional information" that he would not detail came to him during the weekend, leading him to present the money laundering charges to a new grand jury Monday.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, of Houston, dismissed Earle's statement as spin.

"This is crazy," DeGuerin said. "I doubt he got any evidence of any kind other than we were going to bring this motion to dismiss."

The new indictment was returned Monday shortly after DeGuerin filed a motion to quash and dismiss the original indictment based on the claim that the state's conspiracy statute did not apply to the election code until a year after the alleged events of 2002.

Earle did not address the issues in DeGuerin's motion other than to say they will be "resolved by a judge."


DeGuerin said Earle was caught flat-footed with the original indictment because it alleged a crime that would not be illegal at the time it occurred.

"We researched very carefully to make sure that the law Ronnie Earle charged was violated had not come into effect until Sept. 1, 2003. We confirmed it top, side and bottom," DeGuerin said.

The September 2003 law applying the conspiracy statue to election laws was part of a House bill designed to prevent fraud in absentee balloting by making it a crime to mark a person's ballot without the person's consent.

The author of the bill, former state Rep. Steve Wolens, D-Dallas, did not return telephone calls Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle to discuss why the language was needed.

Several Republican lawmakers co-authored the bill.

Earle's full statement about the new indictment can be found here (thanks, Juanita). That'll be an interesting issue for the judge to rule on in the pretrial hearings. We have the opinion of other legal experts who say that this isn't a problem for Earle, but as always, it's what the person in the black robes says that matters. So we'll see.

This Statesman story provides more details and a timeline (via BOR).

More interesting to me in this story is the following:

Also Tuesday, DeGuerin criticized Earle at a Houston news conference, accusing him of offering "a sweet deal" to DeLay's co-defendants, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to get them to testify against his client.

Ellis' lawyer, J.D. Pauerstein, of San Antonio, said prosecutors made offers but they were inadequate.

"I didn't perceive anything they offered as acceptable, let alone sweet. They were talking in terms of wanting to put these poor guys in jail," Pauerstein said.

So, um, does that mean that there is an acceptable offer which would make thse guys be willing to roll over and spill the beans about Tommy? Like, say, probation and a fine? I'm just wondering.

And Dick, please, spare me the outrage here. In a similar situation, you'd advise your client to grab a deal like that as if it were a double mochachino being dangled in front of a caffeine-starved IT worker.

Speaking of DeLay's defense, Jeralyn notices a shift in strategy. DeLay's new tactic? "I misspoke." Please do keep talking, Tom. The rest of us are taking notes.

Finally, for your amusement, Ted presents "Laverne & Shirley Republican Bingo".

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 05, 2005 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

Ted needs to put it in excel format and then turn it into a GIF like someone else does, eh.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on October 5, 2005 11:51 AM

Actually, DeGuerin wouldn't advise his clients to take the deal. DeGeurin's clients don't snitch. Ever.

Posted by: Joel on October 6, 2005 2:58 PM