[JURIST] The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin [official website] overturned [opinion, PDF] the conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) [JURIST news archive] on Thursday, concluding that the state failed to prove proceeds of criminal activity in its money laundering charges against DeLay. A three-judge panel voted 2-1 [WP report] to overturn the conviction, holding that the evidence presented by the state, stemming from a series of political transactions during the 2002 election cycle, was legally insufficient. According to the majority opinion, “The State did not prove the funds were ‘illegal at the start of the transaction’ or ‘procured by illegal means originally.'” DeLay was acquitted of both money laundering and conspiracy charges.
In January 2011 a judge for the 331st Criminal District Court [official website] of Texas sentenced DeLay to three years in prison and 10 years of probation following his November 2010 conviction [JURIST reports]. In August 2010 DeLay’s lawyer confirmed that a US Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal probe into DeLay’s association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive] had been dismissed without charges being filed [JURIST report]. The investigation lasted six years and included grand jury testimony from former aides as well as a review of more than 1,000 documents and e-mails from DeLay’s office. In August 2008 a Texas appeals court allowed the money laundering indictment [JURIST report] against DeLay’s associates to stand. In 2007 a Texas appeals court ruled against reinstating a charge of conspiracy to violate the state’s election law against DeLay and his two associates. After he was indicted, DeLay stepped down as House majority leader and later resigned from Congress [JURIST reports].