DeLay Completely Cleared of Charges

The Houston Chronicle reports:

AUSTIN — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals today refused to reinstate criminal conspiracy charges against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and two co-defendants.

DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and political consultants Jim Ellis and John Colyandro were accused of conspiring to violate state election laws in the 2002 elections for the Texas House. But lower courts threw out the indictment on grounds that conspiracy to violate the election code was not a crime until 2003,

A majority of the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed.

DeLay, Ellis and Colyandro were charged with plotting to funnel illegal corporate campaign contributions to several Republican House candidates in 2002, when the GOP gained its first House majority of modern times.

The three also were charged with money laundering, but a trial on those charges has been held up pending a resolution of the conspiracy charges.

DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said he was pleased with the ruling but sorry that it took so long and resulted in DeLay's resignation from Congress, where he represented Houston's southwest suburbs for more than 20 years.

"Ronnie Earle indicted Tom DeLay for a crime that didn't exist, wasn't on the books," DeGuerin said.

Think this will make it onto the newscasts of ABCCBSCNNNBCPBS? Doubt it.

This was a political smear-job from the get-go, and it's sad that it actually accomplished at least part of its goals: getting DeLay out of Congress. However, vindication still has to feel good to Mr. DeLay.