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Tom DeLay Goes Before Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Updated: Wednesday, June 18 2014, 05:41 PM CDT
Oral arguments began Wednesday before the highest Texas criminal court to determine if the conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will be reinstated.
It was all smiles from DeLay and his legal team nearly nine months after a lower appeals court overturned DeLay's convictions. "Feel great," said DeLay.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that a majority of this court will recognize that this case is not about money laundering and criminal conspiracy, but like Tom said and I like I told the court, the criminalization of poltics," said DeLay's Attorney, Brian Wice.
In 2010, a jury convicted the former U.S. House Majority Leader of illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates during the 2002 campaign cycle.
"Politicians can commit crimes and they should be prosecuted when they commit crimes just like anyone else," said Travis County Assistant District Attorney, Gary Cobb.
A judge sentenced DeLay to three years in prison, but the punishment was put on hold pending appeal.
"At the end of the day you cannot take a series of perfectly legal transactions and transform them because you say so," said Wice.
While the Third Court of Appeals in Austin agreed, Travis County Assistant District Attorney Holly Taylor does not. "In this case, the court of appeals kind of ignored some of the key witnesses that testified."
Taylor hopes this time around, the court will reinstate the 2010 jury verdict.
Both sides say they are confident in the judges' panel. "It may take them a little while. It's a really long record and there's a lot to talk about, but these judges really know their stuff," said Taylor.
"This was the first time that a judge that I saw had read the case, had read the opinion and read the testimony and really understood what this was all about," said DeLay.
DeLay's attorney says if this appeal goes their way, it's over. If not, they will go back to the Austin Court of Appeals.
By Deeda Payton