January 24, 2007
CCA will hear final DeLay appeals today

More than four months after agreeing to hear an appeal from the Travis County DA's office over the dismissal of a conspiracy charge against Tom DeLay, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will actually hear arguments in the case today.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is set to hear arguments Wednesday on the conspiracy charge -- part of the criminal case that helped drive DeLay from office.

Prosecutors want the charge reinstated, but attorneys for DeLay and two co-defendants contend a lower appellate court correctly ruled that the law was not in effect when the alleged conspiracy occurred in 2002.

DeLay's trial on remaining felony conspiracy and money laundering charges must wait until the state's highest criminal court rules, which could be weeks or months after Wednesday's hearing.

The issue is whether the actions DeLay is alleged to have taken in 2002 constitute a crime as defined by state law at the time. From the Statesman:

In a brief filed with the court, prosecutors reject defense lawyers' contention that the state's conspiracy law didn't apply to the Texas Election Code until 2003. They outlined a series of steps in legislative history to back up their argument.

"The plain language ... is clear and unambiguous: the offense of criminal conspiracy applies to all felony offenses defined by Texas law, including the offense of unlawfully making a corporate political contribution," prosecutors wrote.

But [DeLay's defense attorney Dick] DeGuerin disputed that. He also said the law is clear.

"There was no conspiracy to violate the election code on the books at the time that the conduct took place. There's no such crime, in other words," DeGuerin said.

Until this matter is settled by the CCA, the trials of DeLay and associates Jim Ellis and John Colyandro on other charges will be on hold. And at this point I'll reiterate once again that fellow defendant Warren Robold appears to have fallen off the face of the earth. I still think he'll be sprung as a witness for the prosecution when this show finally gets on the road. We'll see, some day.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 24, 2007 to Scandalized! | TrackBack