Still maintains innocence
Double guilty: Tom DeLay dancing toward prison
Tom DeLay — the former U.S. House Majority leader from Sugar Land — was convicted of both money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering — by a jury in Austin. Now DeLay, once one of the most powerful men in America, faces a sentence of from five to 99 years for the money laundering conviction and two to 20 years for the conspiracy conviction.
Throughout his long wait for a trial that DeLay said he wanted (the charges led DeLay to step down from Congress in 2006), he insisted that he was innocent of funneling $190,000 of corporate money into the campaign accounts of seven Texas congressmen (which is illegal in Texas).
"I still maintain that I am innocent," DeLay said in a TV interview after the verdict. "I'm very disappointed in the outcome. But it is what it is and we'll carry on — and maybe we'll get it in front of people who understand the law."
DeLay's lawyers plan to appeal the verdict, which was reached after 19 hours of deliberation from a jury that the judge declined to let go home early on Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys debated about whether the jury should be let out for the holiday early Wednesday and pick up deliberations on Monday or keep working toward a verdict.
"“The alternatives are worse,” visiting state District Judge Pat Priest said when announcing his decision to have the jury keep going, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
The verdict came in a little before 5 p.m.
Dubbed “The Hammer” for the way he'd dealt with people in his way, the former Republican king was convicted for steering that $190,000 of corporate money through the Republican National Committee in defiance of Texas law. The Republican National committee then sent the $190,000 out in campaign donations to seven GOP candidates for the Texas House. Prosecutors said during the trial that this is the first time a criminal charge has been filed over the long-time Texas law.
The trial lasted three weeks. During one point in the deliberations, the judge told the jury they were "getting off track" and to focus on the issues at hand.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 20.
Between the time DeLay stepped down from Congress and his Wednesday conviction, he famously appeared on Dancing with the Stars and lived in the Houston area.