The sentencing phase of the Tom DeLay trial will begin today. The former congressman from Houston, Texas was convicted on the white collar crime charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering on November 24, 2010. The conspiracy and money laundering charges were a part of an illegal plan to direct campaign money from corporations to candidates from Texas running for political office in 2002.
DeLay faces life in prison for the charge of money laundering and faces up to 20 years for the conspiracy charge. Probation may also be an option for the former congressman. Some legal experts believe that Delay will receive a minor sentence if a sentence is given at all. Both of the political parties have their own viewpoints as to how much time DeLay should serve. According to a New York criminal defense attorney, “Democrats will want to see the book thrown at him,” and Republicans will argue that any prison time would be unfair. Either way the judge prescribing the sentence will not please everyone says the criminal defense attorney. DeLay plans to appeal the conviction.
In November, a jury convicted DeLay of using his Texas-based political action committee to transfer $190,000 in corporate political contributions to the Republican National Committee based in Washington. After receiving the money, the Republican National Committee transferred the same amount of money to seven individuals running for political office in the Texas House of Representatives. The law in Texas says that corporations cannot directly contribute to political campaigns. DeLay resigned from the United States House of Representatives in 2006.
Source: The Associated Press, “Sentencing Hearing to Begin in Tom DeLay Trial,” 1/10/11