Less than four hours after a three-judge panel of the 3rd Court of Appeals reversed former U.S. House of Representative Tom Delay’s felony convictions and acquitted him of money laundering and conspiring to money launder, prosecutors from the Travis County District Attorney’s office said they will ask the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review that ruling.
Houston criminal-defense lawyer Brian Wice, who represents Delay, says he remains “confident” that his client will prevail at the CCA. He says Delay was “numbed” initially by the 3rd Court’s reversal and acquittal but welcomes it.
Wice says his client has suffered from the allegations dragging on during the past decade when Delay, a Republican from Sugarland, should have enjoyed his “golden years” of retirement.
Gary Cobb, a spokesman for the DA’s office, says about the 3rd Court 2-1 panel ruling. “We don’t believe they got the law right.”
In its statement, the DA’s office wrote: “We are concerned and disappointed that two judges [on the 3rd Court panel] substituted their assessment of the facts for that of 12 jurors who personally heard the testimony of over 40 witnesses over the course of several weeks and found that the evidence was sufficient and proved DeLay’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In the 2-1 majority opinion issued Sept. 19, Justice Melissa Goodwin writes, “Based on the totality of the evidence, we conclude that the evidence presented does not support a conclusion that DeLay committed the crimes that were charged. The fundamental problem with the State’s case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity.”
3rd Court Chief Justice J. Woodfin dissented, writing, “The majority emphasizes that representatives of several contributing corporations testified that they assumed their donations would be used for lawful purposes and that they intended to comply with the law, but that testimony does no more than create a fact issue with regard to their intent. Such a fact issue is, of course, properly resolved by the jury, whose judgment regarding a witness’s credibility we may not supplant with our own.”