Friday, Mar 27th

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Tom Delay: Guilty of Money Laundering

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GUILTY of illegally funneling money to help elect Republican candidates in 2002. The day before Thanksgiving, a Texas jury found Tom Delay, former house Majority leader, Dancing with the Stars contestant, a Birther and a big pal of Jack Abramoff, of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Time to give thanks and send the "Hammer" to jail!

Wednesday was not a good day for former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who was found guilty on charges of money laundering and conspiracy.

But the road might get a little easier for DeLay going forward. For starters, according to this AP story, he’s likely to find more hospitable process with his appeal than he did at trial, which took place in Austin, one of the bluest cities in an otherwise very red state.

And the AP story points out that the judge in the case, Texas judge Pat Priest, does not necessarily need to give DeLay jail time. While technically the money laundering charge carries a punishment of up to life in prison, the judge has wide latitude and could end up just giving him probation.

At worst, experts say, DeLay gets a few years behind bars. “It is absolutely impossible he would get anywhere near life,” said Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, to the AP. “It would be a period of a few years, if he gets prison.”

And Barry Pollack, a Washington-based white-collar lawyer, said the judge may not feel the need to throw the book at DeLay, figuring the conviction itself is severe punishment for someone who once ascended to the No. 2 post in the House of Representatives. Link

Sentencing is set for December 20th - mark your calendar!

Prison term - Delay faces up to 99 years on the money laundering and 20 years on conspiracy. Chances of him getting the maximum? Don't hold your breath - No way! I would be surprise if he even serve any jail time. I do, however, see a book deal surfacing from this.

In response to the verdict, Delay told reporters:

"This is an abuse of power. It's a miscarriage of justice. I still maintain that I am innocent, that the criminalization of politics undermines our very system, and I'm very disappointed in the outcome."

Pot 1, Kettle 0!

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