DeLay conviction overturned

By Paul J. Weber
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court has overturned the money laundering conviction of former Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, saying there was insufficient evidence.

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals said in a recent 2-1 ruling that it decided to “reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal.”

DeLay was found guilty in November 2010 of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for helping illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but his sentence was on hold during the appellate process.

A jury in Austin had determined that DeLay conspired with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to use his Texas-based political action committee to send a check for $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee.

The RNC then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates. Under state law, corporate money cannot be given directly to political campaigns.

Prosecutors said the money helped the GOP take control of the Texas House, enabling them to push through a DeLay-engineered congressional redistricting plan that sent more Republicans to Congress in 2004, strengthening his political power.

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