Tom DeLay, the former majority leader and majority whip in the U.S. House of Representative, earned the nickname “The Hammer” for his hard driving and uncompromising style. However, some commentators believe that his uncompromising nature has led him to receive a longer sentence than he might have received had he been more apologetic during his prosecution for white collar crimes. Allegedly, DeLay used illegal means to funnel corporate contributions to Republican candidates during the 2002 election in Texas.
As a result, DeLay faced charges of money laundering and conspiracy. After being found guilty, DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy and five years for money laundering. The sentencing judge gave DeLay 10 years probation in lieu of serving five years in prison for the money laundering offense, but ordered that DeLay serve the three years for conspiracy in prison.
DeLay never admitted guilt and refused to apologize in court. “Judge, I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did,” DeLay said in court just before his sentencing. Presently, DeLay is free on an appeal bond and his attorney believes DeLay will never spend time in prison.
DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, has said he is preparing a variety of motions to appeal and overturn DeLay’s conviction. DeGuerin has filed his notice of appeal, plans to ask the judge for a new trial, and he also plans to file a motion to block the sentence.
DeGuerin believes the judge will likely reject these motions, but is confident that the convictions for money laundering and conspiracy will be overturned on appeal. “What the court of appeals said, was that in 2002, when all this occurred, money laundering could only be done with cash and not with checks. And since there were only checks involved here, that could not be money laundering. That law has been changed, but it was changed after the fact. I expect that what the court of appeals will do is reverse it on that basis, but also on the basis of the fact that there was no crime proven,” DeGuerin said.
Westlaw News and Insight, “Ex-U.S. House leader DeLay gets 3-year prison term,” Kelley Shannon, Chris Baltimore and Terry Baynes, 1/10/2011
Reuters, “DeLay lawyer says his client will never spend day in jail,” Jim Forsyth, 1/13/2011