Ronnie Earle is vindicated as a Travis County jury finds Tom DeLay guilty of money laundering. DeLay faces approximately a gazillion years in prison.
The substance of the charge was that DeLay arranged to have corporate campaign contributions, illegal under Texas law, laundered through the Republican National Committee. The contributions went to the RNC, which promptly made out checks for the same amounts to the local legislative candidates DeLay was backing. The result of the successful corrupt move was to enable the midterm Congressional redistricting that handed the Republicans five Congressional seats.
If I were the judge, I’d send DeLay away – to send a message – but not for anything like the absurd amount of time he’s exposed to: 20 years each on the conspiracy counts, 99 years on the money laundering. Five years of actual prison time would be enough to convince onlookers that this isn’t a game.