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Friday, 26 November 2010 09:17

The Lesson of Tom DeLay: a Jury of Our Peers Can Weigh in on the Scales of Justice

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Justice may often be delayed, but it finally caught up with Tom DeLay.

Convicted on counts of conspiracy and money laundering, a Texas jury decided that DeLay - the former GOP House Majority leader nicknamed "The Hammer" - was guilty of having violated a state law prohibiting corporate contributions made directly to political candidates.

DeLay "washed" corporate money in 2002 through the Republican National Committee to achieve a goal that would result in more Republican congressional districts in Texas. He was successful, but it took eight years and a tenacious district attorney, Ronnie Earle (now retired), to pursue the complicated indictment.

Having narrowly escaped a federal investigation of his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, DeLay felt secure enough in recent years to appear on "Dancing With the Stars" and talk freely with Director Alex Gibney in a 2010 documentary on Abramoff, "Casino Jack and the United States of Money".

DeLay could face life in prison, or he could be let off with probation. That is up to the judge who presided at the trial, which ended with the guilty verdict on November 24.

But the one-time bug exterminator reportedly walked out of the courtroom with tears in his eyes.

It's a reminder that even in very dark days for our democracy, a jury of our peers can weigh in on the scales of justice.


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