DeLay Indicted on New Money Laundering Charge
The money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. The charge of conspiracy to launder money is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, reported the Associated Press.
Last week, DeLay was charged with conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. Defense lawyers asked a judge Monday to toss out the indictment, contending it was based on a statute that did not take effect until 2003, a year after the alleged acts.
The new indictment from District Attorney Ronnie Earle came just hours after the new grand jurors in Texas were sworn in.
“Ronnie Earle has stooped to a new low with his brand of prosecutorial abuse,” Delay said in a statement.
“He is trying to pull the legal equivalent of a ‘do-over’ since he knows very well that the charges he brought against me last week are totally manufactured and illegitimate. This is an abomination of justice.”
A statement from Earle’s office outlined the new charges but did not address DeLay’s criticism.
More than 40 grand jury indictments have been returned so far in Earle’s two-and-a-half-year investigation of Republican campaign tactics during 2002 state House elections in Texas. The investigation centers on allegations that DeLay and others circumvented Texas’s prohibition against corporate campaign contributions during those House races, which many believed would be close, according to a Knight Ridder report.
Specifically, DeLay is accused of conspiring with associates John Colyandro and Jim Ellis to launder $190,000 in corporate contributions to his Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee through the Republican National Committee for distribution to candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.
Texas law forbids the use of corporate money in political campaigns.