Tom DeLay Jury Deliberations
The jury in Tom DeLay's Texas money laundering trial deliberated three hours today, and will be back tomorrow:
Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's lead attorney, restated what he had often said throughout the trial: that prosecutors had failed to prove the ex-lawmaker committed a crime and the money swap was legal.
Throughout his closing arguments, DeGuerin repeated one phrase in particular: no corporate money went to candidates in Texas. He even included the sentence — in bold, black letters — in a slide show he presented to jurors.
He also used his partisan politics theme: [More...]
DeGuerin argued DeLay was being punished for his political views and that prosecutors tried to "make politics dirty." Trial testimony from prosecution witnesses often focused on how money is raised in political campaigns, particularly from corporations. I don't agree with tearing down someone because of what their beliefs are," DeGuerin said.
7 jurors wore black today, and no one knows why.
Maybe they just wanted to be dressed nicely for post-verdict press interviews. Which would mean they weren't expecting long deliberations. Or, maybe it was a coincidence.
So what do the jury instructions say? According to the Houston Chronicle, DeLay got a break on an important one today.
The defense won a major victory in the charge visiting District Judge Pat Priest gave to the jury. It, essentially, said DeLay merely knowing Colyandro and Ellis and what they were doing was not enough to convict him.
"Mere association with persons involved in a conspiracy, if there is one, is insufficient to prove participation in a conspiracy," the charge said. "Likewise, participation in a conspiracy cannot be proven merely by the fact that a person knew of a conspiracy and was associated with or in the presence of persons involved in the conspiracy." However, the charge also said: "An agreement constituting a conspiracy may be inferred from acts of the parties."
So the audio tape of DeLay saying he knew, which he later said was not what he meant, may not be that critical after all. Knowledge and association aren't enough to prove DeLay became a member of the conspiracy.
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