Lessons from Tom DeLay conviction?


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by Bertram de Souza (Contact)   | 306 entries

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The conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, on political money-laundering charges prompted a reader of this blog to wonder whether the special prosecutors in the Oakhill case in Mahoning County might learn something from the DeLay trial.
“Keep in mind ‘The Hammer’ Tom DeLay got convicted on ‘money laundering’ — quite a few money laundering charges. With the current crop of Mahoning County indictees, it could be more serious than I first thought, I think DeLay was convicted on a state charge. He faces possible life and they might make an example of him.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, DeLay was convicted four years after he was forced to resign his House seat. On the conspiracy charge, DeLay faces up to 20 years in prison, and on the money-laundering charge, he faces between two and 99 years or even life in prison. Prosecutors claimed that in 2002, DeLay used his political action committee to illegally channel money from corporate donations for a congressional redistricting campaign. DeLay insisted the money swap was legal, and maintained he did not use corporate funds for a congressional race — which is illegal in Texas.
In Mahoning County, 10 defendants were charged in a 73-count Mahoning County grand jury indictment issued July 28.
Eight of the defendants are charged with conspiring to prevent or delay the move of the county’s Department of Job and Family Services from Cafaro Co.-owned rented quarters at Garland Plaza to Oakhill on Oak Hill Avenue, which the county bought in 2006.
Those defendants are Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., retired president of the Cafaro Co.; the Cafaro Co. and two of its affiliates, the Ohio Valley Mall Co. and the Marion Plaza Inc.; county Commissioner John A. McNally IV; county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino; former county treasurer John B. Reardon; and John Zachariah, the former county JFS director.
Oakhill is the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center, to which JFS moved in July 2007.
Two other defendants, Flora Cafaro, part-owner of the Cafaro Co. and sister of Anthony Cafaro Sr., and Atty. Martin Yavorcik, are charged with money laundering in connection with an allegedly concealed $15,000 gift she gave to Yavorcik’s unsuccessful 2008 campaign for county prosecutor.
The Oakhill trial is scheduled to begin next summer.
The conviction of DeLay does show that while complicated such cases can be won.

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