Observations on the world today.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

If the Media is So Liberal, Explain This 

One charge against DeLay dismissed

In asking that the case be thrown out, DeLay lawyer Dick DeGuerin argued that one of the charges -- conspiracy to violate the Texas election code -- did not even take effect until September 2003, a year after the alleged offenses occurred.
That was the last paragraph of the story. I may be mistaken, but I don't think this is factualy correct. DeGuerin did not argue that conspiracy did not exist until September 2003. He argued that the specific law Delay is charged with conspiring to circumvent did not exist until 2003, and therefore Delay could not have conspired to violate it.

Saying that conspiracy to violate election law did not exist as a crime until after the alleged crime occurred is something that muddies the concept more than it needs to be muddied. The fact is the law did exist, but it was vague and there is some question as to whether Delay could have known that what he was having others do might even be considered a violation of the law before it was clarified. Furthermore, since even if it had been clear to those who actually violated the law on Delay's behalf that what they were doing could be considered criminal, since Delay did not himself violate the law in question is it reasonable to argue that he conspired to violate it. It's a tricky question, but it is worth understanding.

Here's the answer as I see it. If Delay is convicted of money laundering, it then seems clear that he knew giving the money directly was against the law. One doesn't launder money if there is no need. Therefore, he must have known that he was having people violate election law. And if he knew it, then it was a conspiracy and he was in on it. And, yes, conspiracy to violate election law was indeed a crime prior to 2003.
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