The Fourth Texas Court of Appeals in Austin today overturned the convictions of former U.S. House Majority Leader tom DeLay, who was found guilty by a court in Travis County of money laundering and conspiracy for funneling corporate money to Republican Legislative candidates in the 2002 elections, 1200 WOAI news reports.
2002 was the year the Republicans took control of both Houses of the Legislature. They have not given up that control since.
The court, in a 22 page opinion, said that prosecutors failed to prove that what DeLay did was a crime.
"The fundamental problem with the state's case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity," the court wrote. "Because we conclude that the evidence is legally insufficient to support DeLay's convictions, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal."
DeLay, 66, was sentence to three years in prison, but he has not been required to report to prison pending the outcome of his appeal.
The fact that the appeals court found the Travis County District Court's opinion to be in error is certain to add fuel to Republican claims that the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit is fatally biased agaisnt Republicans.
Republicans have claimed that the usually Democratic Travis County D.A. and juries in the reliably Democratic county use the unit, which is assigned to investigate and prosecute allegations against statewide political office holders, to bring 'nuisance' charges against Republicans in an attempt to derail their careers.
Governor Perry, using the embarrassing drunk driving arrest of Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg in April as a reason, vetoed state funding to the unit this past summer.