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Who knew he was such a delicate flower?

What do you call it when a prosecutor offers to let someone who’s facing felony charges plead to a misdemeanor? If you’re Tom DeLay, you call it coercion.

The plea offer was mentioned in a letter to [ Travis County District Attorney Ronnie] Earle from attorney Dick DeGuerin of Houston that accompanied motions to dismiss the indictments against DeLay. DeGuerin also asked that DeLay be severed from two co-defendants so he could be tried as quickly as possible.

DeLay, R-Sugar Land, was forced to step down as House majority leader after a grand jury under Earle’s direction returned the first of two felony indictments against DeLay last month.

DeGuerin said Earle made the plea offer in the context of DeLay keeping his House leadership post.

“You tried to coerce a guilty plea from Tom DeLay for a misdemeanor, stating the alternative was indictment for a felony which would require his stepping down as majority leader,” DeGuerin wrote.

“He turned you down, so you had him indicted, in spite of the advice from others in your office that Tom DeLay had committed no crime.”

Gosh, you’d think that since everything DeLay and his House minions have done has been about preserving his power as Majority Leader, such an offer would have been logically consistent. Apparently, you’d be wrong. Who knew DeLay had such a sensitive temperament? Go easy on him, Ronnie, you might hurt his feelings.

As for DeLay’s motion to separate his trial, it’s about his desire to wrap this up quickly. Ellis and Colyandro want to go all the way through the appeals process because they say the law is too “vague” – what they really mean is that since they made their payoffs with checks and not bags of cash, they technically didn’t do anything wrong. DeLay doesn’t want to draw this out; among other things, he’s got the whole Abramoff thing to be worried about. He needs a quick resolution. I’m guessing he’ll get his wish to be severed, but if he doesn’t it could be unpleasant for him. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Grits says DeLay is getting a taste of business as usual in Travis County.

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  1. texxasredd says:

    Has little Dickie been out of criminal practice for so long he’s forgotten about plea negotiations? Or maybe there ain’t no such animal up there in the Big H where he comes from…. Sounds like sour grapes to me. I wanna see the mug shot of DeLay without the rug.

  2. Charles Hixon says:

    Would you buy pest extermination service from this man?

  3. Morat says:

    This was front page (but below the fold) of the Chronicle, but I bet it’ll backfire on him.

    Law and Order and CSI are hugely popular — everyone knows that competent DA’s tend to offer plea bargains.

    This just comes across as whiny. Any L&O junkie is going to say “He’s complaining about being offered a misdeamenour? What a whiny bitch….!”

  4. Mathwiz says:

    What do you call it when a prosecutor offers to let someone who’s facing felony charges plead to a misdemeanor? If you’re Tom DeLay, you call it coercion.

    To be fair, a plea offer can be coercive, but only if you’re expected to do something wrong as part of the bargain (such as giving false testimony against other indictees), or if the “alternative” is itself unlawful (such as threatining to declare the suspect an “enemy combatant!”) Somehow I doubt either was the case here.