DeLay Sentenced To Three Years For Money Laundering Conviction

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay could spend up to three years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy. A judge handed down the sentence Monday. Matt Largey reports from Austin.

DeLay had little reaction as the judge told him that he was being sentenced to three years in prison on one count, and five years probation on the second. His lawyers had argued he should only serve probation. Prosecutors had asked the judge to send DeLay to prison for 10 years or more. He could have been sentenced to up to 99 years.

After the hearing, DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, had little to say.

“If I told you what I really thought, I’d get sued. This will not stand. Thank you.”

During the hearing, lawyers presented evidence about DeLay’s character. The judge dismissed the prosecution’s only witness — businessman Peter Cloeren, who pled guilty to making illegal campaign donations in the 1990s. He was expected to say he was acting on DeLay’s urging. The judge did not allow the testimony.

The defense called former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He called DeLay “honorable” and a “good friend”. But under questioning, Hastert said DeLay had never expressed remorse for his crimes.

Later, DeLay addressed the judge, calling himself passionate and arrogant. He also said he never intended to break the law — and asked how he could be sorry for something he doesn’t think was wrong. Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb later used DeLay’s own words to explain the lack of remorse.

“I think Tom DeLay said it best: he said that he was arrogant. And his statement was an extremely arrogant statement, where he refused to accept responsibility, and he refused to show any remorse for the offense for which he’s been convicted of.”

DeLay was taken into custody at the Travis County Jail after the sentence was handed down. He posted a 20-thousand dollar bond, and will remain out of jail pending his appeal.

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