Still, he said, he kept his hand in politics.
“I haven’t gone away,” he said at the Capitol, where he attended the regular meeting of the Texas GOP congressional delegation. “Democrats had this strategy of taking me out, bankrupting me, destroying me. I’m still working on other projects and helping people for re-election. I never slowed down.”
He said he may try to find an attorney to go after those who targeted him, including the Travis County district attorney.
“If you really look at this, this is an outrage and a violation of freedom, a violation of law and it’s a violation of just decency,” he said, characterizing former District Attorney Ronnie Earle as a “rogue district attorney” who had to go to six grand juries before he could find one that would hand up an indictment.
Mr. Earle, who retired in 2007, didn’t return a message left at his private law office.
Local news reports said the current Travis County district attorney’s office announced that it would seek a rehearing of the decision.
Texans for Public Justice, which filed the initial complaint that led to the court case, said the acquittal was political.
“We’re disappointed but not surprised that two Republican appellate judges overturned the opinion of 12 jurors who agreed there was sufficient evidence to convict Tom DeLay of money laundering,” the group said in a statement. “When a powerful Republican conspires to steal an election, powerful Republican judges will bail him out.”
The Texas Democratic Party didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Mr. DeLay faced a three-year prison sentence but didn’t start serving it while his case was on appeal.
Outside of office, Mr. DeLay took a turn on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” program, though he withdrew in the middle of the competition on the advice of his doctor.
Stuart Roy, a former top staffer for Mr. DeLay, said the acquittal is a victory for people who want to engage in rough-and-tumble politics without turning it into a criminal affair.
“Regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, there are lots of people who understand you cannot take opponents and turn them into enemies. You can oppose someone politically, but that doesn’t mean you turn them into criminals,” he said.
But he said Mr. DeLay has been sacrificed for that cause.
“DeLay will never get that time back. As big a victory as this is, because he was acquitted, he’ll never be able to unlive those years,” Mr. Roy said.