Tom DeLay has finally gotten away from campaign-finance prosecutors after nearly a decade fighting money laundering and conspiracy charges.
DeLay triumphed Wednesday in the nine-year case, as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the charges that effectively ruined the former House majority leader.
DeLay had been found guilty of channeling $190,000 in corporate political donations to Republicans running for the Texas Legislature as part of a push to redraw congressional district lines in the state. Texas election law prohibits corporate contributions to state candidates' campaigns.
Slate columnist Richard Hasen wrote, "There were good reasons to think that DeLay’s prosecution in Texas for violations of state campaign finance law, like the federal prosecutions of former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, involved politically motivated charges brought by overzealous prosecutors."
The court ruled eight to one that prosecutors had failed to make their case that DeLay was guilty of money laundering as part of a plan to redraw the Texas political map. He had been sentenced to a three-year prison term but has been free on appeal since 2011, the National Review reported.
"I got my life back, and I can now go forward to whatever that is," Mr. DeLay said in an interview with the New York Times‘ First Draft. DeLay spent about $1 million fending off a three-year jail term.
"Hopefully I can get a job. I am not a rich man."
This is Texas' highest court, which ensures the case is over.
"This is the end of the line for this case," said Mr. DeLay’s lawyer, Brian Wice. "The Court of Criminal Appeals shut down a prosecution almost nine years to the day that the Travis County District Attorney’s Office embarked on this unconscionable jaunt."
DeLay, now 67 and a grandfather, said he would not rule out a future run for office.
"I think a few people are worried about that," he said.