Thursday, October 20, 2005

No Further Delay: Bush Lieutenant Booked Today

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - One of the most influential members of George W. Bush's political apparatus submitted himself for fingerprints and pictures today at Houston's Harris County Sheriff's Department. Republican Leader of the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay stands accused of conspiracy and money-laundering.

(Photo/Harris County Sheriff Department)

No Further Delay:
Bush Lieutenant Booked Today
C. L. Cook

PEJ News
October 20, 2005

Delay's troubles began with allegations he funnelled corporate donations into Texas state elections, something prohibited under Texas law. The Texas Republicans carried that election, held prior to the presidential election campaign, and subsequently redrew voting districts to favour George W. Bush's presidential bid.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin told reporters the charges are politically motivated, accusing the Travis County District Attorney's office of bias against his client and charging District Attorney Ronnie Earle of headline seeking. Referring to Earle, DeGuerin told reporters:

"Now Ronnie Earle has the mugshot he wanted."

But, the defense didn't limit accusations of bias to the Travis County District Attorney's office; DeGuerin also demanded presiding Judge Bob Perkins be removed from the case. In a motion for a change of venue citing Perkin's past contributions to "DeLay opponents," DeGuerin presented records of 34 instances of the judge's past political donations, including to Bush '04 opponent, John Kerry, and, a "liberal" advocacy organization.

District Attorney Earle denounced the defence's assertions, saying:

"The logic behind the defendant's motion to recuse Judge Perkins would mean that no criminal defendant could be tried in a court presided over by a judge who did not belong to the defendant's political party."

DeLay, nicknamed "The Hammer" for his reputation of ruthless political tactics employed against both Democrat opponents and dissident Republicans, is a long-time Bush associate and confidant.

DeLay's first court appearance is set for tomorrow in Austin, Texas.

Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News. He also hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.

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