The case is on the docket for March 7, but that may be just for show, since the trial judge is suggesting an appeal by Colyandro and Ellis will need to be disposed of before the case can move forward. According to Judge Pat Priest’s homepage, Colyandro and Ellis filed their appeal based on rulings by Judge Bob Perkins, who was replaced by Judge Priest after they objected to donations made by Perkins to Democrats. The appeal is pending in the Third Court of Appeals:
Certain indictments, you may remember, were thrown out by Judge Priest, including conspiracy to violate the election code. That decision was appealed all the way to Texas’ Court of Criminal Appeals, where prosecutors lost, but there were some strongly worded dissents. Based upon these, a motion for rehearing was filed by Earle’s office and denied by the top criminal court.
The indictments that are still alive and well include money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. For the background about where all these charges come from, it’s always worthwhile to consult the Observer’s repository on the DeLay/Abramoff ‘Money Machine’ scandal here.
Once the Third Court rules on the merits of the appeal by Colyandro and Ellis, sources within the DA’s office suggest that decision will be appealed — by whatever party loses. That issue would then be resolved by the Court of Criminal Appeals. Then the drama moves back to Priest’s courtroom, assuming DeLay’s attorney Dick DeGuerin is not in the middle of a case elsewhere.
Once action resumes in Austin, at least two motions need to be resolved, including an allegation by the defendants of prosecutorial misconduct on Earle’s part — focusing on a documentary called The Big Buy, made by Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck. The documentary allegedly features Earle giving the filmmakers lots of access while the case against DeLay and company was being put together. The defendants argue Earle was wrong to participate. The other motion is a request by the defendants for a change of venue — arguing that an Austin jury may well have preconceived notions about DeLay, Colyandro, and Ellis. Surely after these several years, even Austinites, who were roundly disenfranchised by DeLay’s efforts during redistricting, may have allowed their tempers to cool enough to give these fellows a fair trial, but, hey, there’s a reason I’m not a lawyer.
Presumably, after all these things have come to pass, then, finally, the case against DeLay will begin to move. The question is, will that happen this year? It’s hard to say, but probably not, which means, really, that Earle will watch this one from the comfort of his retirement. It seems justice isn’t all that swift after all.
In other words, don’t hold your breath. It’s still a long ways off.