Monday, October 10, 2005

Another Salvo in the Battle Between Tom DeLay and Ronnie Earle

To describe the attacks on Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle as vituperative is an understatement, and the latest round from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay seeks the dismissal of the most recent money laundering indictment because of prosecutorial misconduct.  After the first conspiracy indictment, Earle's office sought a second one, perhaps on more legally defensible grounds, but a Travis Country grand jury returned a "no bill," meaning a majority of the grand jurors voted not to indict DeLay.  A few days later, a different grand jury in the county returned the money laundering indictment, which is presumptively valid.  DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, has filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the Travis County D.A.'s office tried to cover-up the earlier grand jury's refusal to indict.  DeGuerin asserted that the prosecutor "engaged in an extraordinarily irregular and desperate attempt to contrive a viable charge" -- just like everything else in Texas, the rhetoric is bigger.  While the money laundering charge may be questionable, at least in the eyes of the defense, the grand jury system permits a prosecutor to seek an indictment from different grand juries so long as a majority find probable cause that the defendant committed a crime, and a "no bill" from one grand jury does have any preclusive effect.  This may be a fight best left for a trial on the merits. A CNN.Com story (here) discusses DeLay's latest filing. (ph)

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Grand Jury, Prosecutions | Permalink

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