(CNN) – Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's conviction on money laundering charges was overturned Thursday by a court in Texas.
DeLay, who was once one of the most powerful men on Capitol Hill, was convicted in 2010 for allegedly trying to influence Texas elections by trying to channel nearly $200,000 in corporate donations to Republicans running for the state legislature, which is prohibited by Lone Star state law. Delay, who served more than two decades in the House before resigning in 2006, was sentenced to three years in prison.
"Because we conclude that the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain DeLay's convictions, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal," said an opinion from the District Court of Travis County, Texas.
DeLay was visiting Capitol Hill on Thursday. He was praying in the House chapel when his phone rang and his lawyer told him the news, a source close to DeLay told CNN.
DeLay then headed over to lunch with his former colleagues in the Texas delegation at their weekly lunch.
"He said he felt vindicated," Rep. Randy Neugebauer told CNN as he left the lunch.
The U.S. Department of Justice ended its own investigation of Delay in 2010 without filing any criminal charges against the former congressman. He has been free on bail pending appeal of his conviction.
– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.