November 21, 2005
Scanlon flips - who's next?

I didn't really have the time this weekend to write anything about this, but Jack Abramoff cohort and former DeLay staffer Mike Scanlon has apparently agreed to testify for the prosecution against his erstwhile partner in crime. Along the way, it's likely that the names of quite a few current Congressfolk will come up. This makes him, as Houtopia puts it, the most dangerous man in DC. Read more about it at MyDD, TPM, TPM again, and TPMCafe.

UPDATE: And of course The Stakeholder.

Meanwhile, back in DeLayville, tomorrow is a big day in court for The Hammer.

The core issue before visiting Judge Pat Priest on Tuesday will be whether the crimes DeLay is accused of committing were actually crimes in 2002 when they allegedly occurred. DeLay and his co-defendants Jim Ellis and John Colyandro have proclaimed their innocence and are asking Priest to throw out the case.

"This could be the end of the case. Frankly, there's no crime charged and the law is on our side," said DeLay lawyer Dick DeGuerin of Houston.


Among the three defendants, there are almost 20 motions to quash the indictments. Several claim the indictments do not adequately describe a crime or that state law is misapplied to the crime alleged.

There are also motions that say the men's actions were not a crime at the time they occurred. They say criminal conspiracy did not apply to the election code until 2003 and that checks were not covered by the state's money-laundering laws until this year. All the activities in this case occurred in 2002.


DeGuerin immediately raised questions about whether the indictment was valid because the conspiracy statute was not amended to include the election code until 2003.

Without specifically mentioning DeGuerin's argument, Earle has admitted in court filings that he sought a new indictment of DeLay on money-laundering charges because he realized there may have been "technical" problems with the first indictment on conspiracy to violate the election code.

But Earle also argued that the conspiracy statute applied to any felony in 2002, including those of the election code. Earle said the original conspiracy law was written when there was no separate election code and election law violations were included in the penal code.

"Clearly, as of 1907, the offense of criminal conspiracy covered a conspiracy to commit the felony offense of unlawfully making a corporate political contribution," Earle's brief said.

A second grand jury declined to indict DeLay on money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. But a third grand jury did, on Oct. 3.

DeGuerin said a big problem for Earle in that indictment is that the definition of money laundering did not include checks until Sept. 1 of this year.

The provision was added to the money laundering statute unanimously by the House and Senate earlier this year at the request of the Texas District Attorney's Association. A House analysis of the bill said the language was needed because cases of money laundering could not be prosecuted when the funds involved a check instead of cash.

Earle has not yet responded on that issue. But the same point was raised by Ellis and Colyandro when they were first indicted in the case last year.

At that time, Earle said in the indictment that the money laundering involved "funds." He said the funds were the corporate money that was raised with the intent of spending it illegally on candidates.

Additionally, he said the fact that the penal code did not include checks in the definition of money laundering did not mean the code excluded money laundering by check.

The first judge in the case, state District Judge Bob Perkins of Austin, agreed with Earle and let the indictment stand. That is one of the reasons it was important for DeGuerin to have Perkins removed from hearing DeLay's case.

One of DeGuerin's first actions for DeLay was to get Perkins taken off the case on grounds that there would be a perceived political bias by the Democratic jurist against DeLay because Perkins had made political donations to national Democratic-leaning organizations.

I'll say again that Judge Priest should rule that all of Perkins' original rulings should stand. The sideline issue of Perkins' political donations should not be cause for adding an extra round of appeals in this case. We'll see what he does.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 21, 2005 to Scandalized! | TrackBack

If checks turn out not to be funds, I hope they let my bank know...

Posted by: Amerloc on November 21, 2005 8:23 AM