Tom DeLay Jury Has More Questions
Update: The jury has now asked for DeLay's interviews with reporters. The judge has told the lawyers to be prepared to work late tonight.
After prosecutors played the tape of the Wallace interview during the trial, DeLay said it told his side of the story so well that he didn’t need to testify. In the Statesman interview, DeLay said, “I could have stopped it, but why would I?” He added that he considered the money swap a legal transaction that both political parties had done in the past.
The Statesman says it's back to what DeLay know and when did he know it. Have they rejected his defense that the money swap was legal? [More...]
The jury in Tom DeLay's money laundering trial continues deliberations. Today they asked for a copy of his interview transcript and asked the judge if DeLay had to have knowledge of all aspects of the transaction. The Judge is concerned about Thanksgiving. He asked the lawyers for their position:
Do we send them home for Thanksgiving with their families and resume deliberations after the holiday? Or, do we keep them deliberating?
What a souped-up "dynamite charge" that would be: "Ladies and Gentleman, you have the right to continue deliberating as long as it takes. You should know, however, that if you don't finish today, you will continue Thursday, even though it's Thanksgiving." Just send them home with the usual admonishment not to discuss the case.
I think even mentioning Thanksgiving before the end of their deliberations today would be a mistake. I suspect if they aren't done after lunch, they'll raise Thanksgiving with the judge and say they'd like to return Friday, a request that should be granted, regardless of the lawyers' positions. This isn't a sequestered jury, they have been home with their families every night. Families have a lot to talk about on Thanksgiving besides politics. I would think most would accept "I can't discuss it" and move on to something more relevant to their lives and the purpose of their get-together.
Here's the jury instruction language that appears to have the jury confused:
The sentence in the charge they are focusing on: “Before you can find Mr. DeLay guilty of conduct alleged in Count I of the indictment, you must find that he was party to an agreement both to send TRMPAC funds in an amount over $100,000 raised from corporate donors to RNSEC and for equivalent funds to be donated to Texas Republican candidates by RNSEC.”
Judge Pat Priest told them that DeLay would have to agreed to both parts of the agreement but his agreement could have come at any time prior to the conclusion of the conspiracy.
To be continued...
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