Third grand jury refused to indict DeLay, prosecutor reveals

[JURIST] A third grand jury previously unrevealed by prosecutors refused to indict former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [official website; JURIST news archive] last week, according to a written statement released late Tuesday by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle [official website]. DeLay has been indicted by two grand juries [JURIST report] in the past week, but Earle revealed that prosecutors took their case to a third grand jury between the two indictments, and that grand jury refused to issue an indictment. Following DeLay's original indictment [PDF text] for conspiracy to violate election laws, DeLay's defense attorneys challenged [motion, PDF] whether the conspiracy charge applied to election law. Prosecutors then sought to bring new money-laundering charges against the former House leader "out of an abundance of caution," according to Earle, only to have the charges rejected on Friday by a grand jury impaneled by District Judge Julie Kocurek. Prosecutors presented the charges again on Monday to a third grand jury, which issued the second indictment. A notice typically released following a grand jury's refusal to indict was not released Friday. Defense attorneys for DeLay protested the news, calling prosecutors' actions "outrageous." Earle said presenting the case to a third grand jury was justified based on new evidence that was obtained over the weekend, but defense attorney Bill White called the claim "beyond the pale." The Austin American-Statesman has more [registration required].

 

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