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DeLay judge holds sentencing discretion
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay argued throughout his trial that the deck was stacked against him by a politically motivated prosecutor and a jury from the most Democratic city in one of the most Republican states.
But following DeLay’s conviction Wednesday on money laundering and conspiracy charges, some legal experts say the edge may now shift to the Republican who represented a conservative Houston suburb for 22 years.
While technically the money-laundering charge carries a punishment of up to life in prison, Senior Judge Pat Priest has wide latitude and could end up just giving him probation.
“It is absolutely impossible he would get anywhere near life,” said Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor. “It would be a period of a few years, if he gets prison.”
Barry Pollack, a Washington-based lawyer who represents clients in white-collar and government corruption cases, said the judge may not see a need to throw the book at DeLay, figuring the conviction itself severe enough punishment for someone who once ascended to the No. 2 post in the House of Representatives.
For example, as a convicted felon, DeLay won’t be able to run again for public office or even cast a vote until he completes his sentence.
One of the incoming members of the new House Republican majority says Americans picked “the right group of messengers” to do the job of turning the country around.
In the weekly Republican radio and Internet address, Rep.-elect Austin Scott of Georgia characterized the 85-member incoming freshman class as a “new breed of leaders for a new majority and a new Congress.”
Mr. Scott says that while there is much to be thankful for, “too many Americans have been out of work for far too long.” He says the GOP House majority “is ready to focus on creating jobs and putting a stop to the runaway spending in Washington, D.C.”
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