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DeLay wants a do over

Good luck with that.

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s legal team on Wednesday filed a motion asking for a retrial for the former congressman, convicted last November on charges of money laundering and conspiracy.

The motion, filed by DeLay’s attorney Dick DeGuerin, seeks a new trial, citing juror misconduct, misapplication of the state’s election code and the potential unconstitutionality of Texas’ ban on corporate campaign contributions.

“A motion for a new trial sets aside the verdict; so it’s not just the new trial, it’s setting aside the verdict, which we don’t think is just.” DeGuerin said. “It gets down to the basics that there wasn’t a crime. There wasn’t a crime alleged and there wasn’t a crime committed.”

The Travis County District Attorney’s office called the motion groundless.

Juanita has more. DeLay already has an appeal going, so I’m not sure how this is different. I can’t tell from the story who would be called on to make a ruling for this motion. If it’s the trial judge, I don’t see the point. If Judge Priest agreed with any of this, wouldn’t he have already done something about it, like directed a not guilty verdict? Obviously, I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know the procedures here. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks.

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  1. Jeff N. says:

    Judge Priest is the decision-maker who has the power to set aside the jury verdict and grant a new trial. DeLay’s lawyers hav to file a motion for new trial even if it’s hopeless, because they can’t make an argument to the court of appeals unless it was first presented to Judge Priest, so it’s probable this motion for new is being filed for that purpose, called “preservation of error”. Jury misconduct can be a ground for a new trial and for an appeal, and it usually is preserved in a motion for new trial because any evidence of jury misconduct often isn’t discovered after the verdict. I don’t think DeLay’s team has filed their notice of appeal yet, which is how the appeal gets started.

  2. Kenneth Fair says:

    Jeff is right about all this. The main reasons for filing a motion for new trial are to preserve error for the court of appeals and to delay the date when the notice of appeal has to be filed. From looking at the website for the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, it looks like they have not yet filed a notice of appeal.

  3. […] should note that convicted felon Tom DeLay had previously filed a motion for a new trial. I have no idea what the status of that is. Also, Judge Priest had previously recused himself from […]