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Ex-House leader DeLay gets 3-year prison term
Dubbed 'The Hammer' for his hard-driving style, DeLay was found guilty on November 24 of conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002 elections.
FORMER HOUSE of Representatives Republican Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday after a jury found him guilty of money laundering and conspiracy.
Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced DeLay, 63, to a five-year sentence for money laundering and three years for conspiracy for a scheme to illegally funnel money to Republican candidates in Texas in 2002.
DeLay's sentence caps a downward spiral for the flamboyant Texas deal maker and former pest exterminator who had sought to rehabilitate his battered image by competing on the television show "Dancing with the Stars" last year.
Dubbed "The Hammer" for his hard-driving style, DeLay was found guilty on November 24 of conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002 elections.
The Texas state court judge allowed DeLay to serve 10 years probation in lieu of the five-year term, but ordered him to serve the three-year term with no probation.
Due to a potentially lengthy appeals process, it could be years before DeLay serves time, prosecutor Gary Cobb said.
"Judge, I can't be remorseful for something I don't think I did," DeLay said before the sentence was handed down. "I fought the fight, ran the race and kept the faith."
DeLay said the campaign contributions were legal and the charges were trumped up by Democrats.
"Before there were Republicans and Democrats there were Americans,"Priest said, and America is "about the rule of law."
Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney, said he plans to appeal the conviction and the sentence. "This will not stand," DeGuerin told reporters as he left the courtroom.
As his wife and daughter cried openly, DeLay was led out of the courtroom by deputies, but he is expected to remain free after posting bond.
DeGuerin and former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert testified that DeLay had a long history of doing good works.
"He put a lot of energy into whatever he did," Hastert said.
"Tom DeLay's life has been a life of honor and integrity. It's been a life of politics," and now he is unemployable, DeGuerin said.
Prosecutors said DeLay's sentence was appropriate.
"Corporate contributions are illegal in Texas, and you can't give them to candidates directly and you can't give them to candidates indirectly," said Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.
"What we feel is that justice was served," Cobb added.
A former owner of a pest control company, DeLay was elected to the House of Representatives in 1984 and rose eventually to the No. 2 position in the chamber behind the speaker. He earned a reputation as a master vote-counter and prolific fund raiser.
In 1994, DeLay was part of a "Republican Revolution" that won control of the House for the first time in 40 years.
He resigned from the House in 2006 after links to Jack Abramoff, a former Republican lobbyist snared in a federal investigation of influence peddling on Capitol Hill, became public. Two of DeLay's ex-aides pleaded guilty to corruption. Delay denied any wrongdoing.
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