September 27th, 2013
09:46 AM ET
7 years ago

Tom DeLay: 'I'll keep fighting'

(CNN) – Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who resigned amid scandal in 2006, said he's "coming back" now that his 2010 conviction for money laundering has been overturned.

DeLay also weighed in on the current showdown in Congress over the spending bill and debt limit.

"I know the Democrats thought they had me down and out, but I've been working through these eight years of being under this cloud," he said Friday on CNN's "New Day." "I'm coming backÔÇŽI never left and I won't leave, and I'll keep fighting for what I believe in."

DeLay added he's working on a book called "Shut Her Down" about "constitutional revival."

Once one of the most powerful men on Capitol Hill, DeLay was convicted for allegedly trying to influence Texas elections by trying to channel nearly $200,000 in corporate donations to Republicans running for the state legislature.

But last week a Texas appellate court acquitted him, saying the evidence was "legally insufficient to sustain DeLay's conviction."

Delay, who served more than two decades in the House before resigning, had been sentenced to three years in prison, but he never served any time.

"We've known all along this was a trumped up charge by a rogue district attorney in Austin, Texas, but we knew, once I got out of Travis County, that I would be exonerated and that's what's happening," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.

Asked if there's a chance the acquittal will be appealed, DeLay's lawyer, Brian Wice, said it's more than possible.

"I think they'll have to. I think they've lost face. Anytime you take the kind of beating in the court of appeals that they took in a case in this magnitude, they're going to go as far as they can," he said

But he added he's "cautiously optimistic that the judges will see there's nothing about this case...that warrants their intervention as the state's highest court for criminal matters."

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.

DeLay also had some advice for his fellow Republicans in the House, as Congress tries to find a deal on preventing a government shutdown, and next month, raising the debt ceiling.

"My advice is hold firm, stick to your guns, stand strong, and you'll ultimately win," DeLay said.

DeLay was a close colleague of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich when Republicans took back the House in 1994 and oversaw the last government shutdown in 1995. While urging Republicans to stand strong, DeLay also argued against a shutdown in the current political climate.

He further hit back against the idea that Republicans suffered after the last shutdown.

"We won. We won the budget cuts we won it. We showed Bill Clinton that we'd take him off a cliff and we got welfare reform, balanced budget and we won seats in the next election," he said.

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Tom DeLay
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Larry in Houston

    I can understand why his conviction was overturned – that Lawyer he has, is the highest priced attorney here in Houston – he is good at what he does – he can overturn a convicted bank robber, and never let him sit in Jail – ever. No wonder De-lay got that guy, for his attorney.

    September 27, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    @just saying,

    "a classic case of liberals and democrats using government resources to persecute and ruin the lives of their political opponents. these are the criminals that want your vote to put them in control of your lives. wake up america!"

    DeLay was convicted by a TEXAS JURY for money laundering and conspiracy to money launder.

    Here's a hot tip for you: if you don't know anything about the story, you don't HAVE to post about it. Otherwise? Just Saying = No Credibility.

    I'm just saying.

    September 27, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    @Hector Slagg,

    "You vell sign up for Obama Care! Ve have ways!"

    Blah blah blah. We get it - you don't like Obamacare. We got it 1500 posts ago. Care to opine on ANYTHING else? - like the subject of this article, for example?

    September 27, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    More GOP garbage from Texas

    September 27, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    from the CNN Justice article:
    "Texas jury convicts Tom DeLay on money laundering charges" – November 25, 2010 12:23 a.m. EST

    This past summer [2010], DeLay said a separate, long-running federal criminal investigation of his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff had been closed with no charges.

    Abramoff pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Two former DeLay aides who joined Abramoff's lobbying team after leaving Capitol Hill also pleaded guilty during the wide-ranging influence peddling investigation.
    They [the local district attorney's office, not the federal DOJ] closed the investigation into ties with Abramoff after the conviction.

    September 27, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Justjean

    Wonder how it feels to know that that the cold hand of fear has now gripped the hearts of most of the party you used to control.

    September 27, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Tom Delay should be sharing a cell with Jesse Jackson Jr !

    The guy is a bad dancer !

    September 27, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. just saying

    this pretty much sums up this democrat abuse of power and government resources.

    After Tom DeLay was convicted of money laundering in 2010, these columns said prosecutors had abused state campaign finance law to exact political retribution against the former GOP leader, and on Thursday a Texas appeals court agreed.

    Setting aside the verdict for the 2-1 majority, Justice Melissa Goodwin writes that the evidence was "legally insufficient," which is a mild way of saying the case never should have been brought. Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle ginned up charges by stretching beyond recognition a money-laundering statute meant for drug dealers.

    Mr. Earle homed in on Mr. DeLay's political action committee, which was allowed to accept corporate donations. The outside fund donated to the Republican National Committee, which then independently cut checks to seven Republicans running for the Texas legislature in 2002. Candidates are only supposed to accept money from parties and individuals under the state election code.

    The RNC kept segregated accounts for business and individual donations, and such transactions were routine at the time, but Mr. Earle alleged that Mr. DeLay structured the transfers to "launder" the dirty proceeds of a conspiracy. But Justice Goodwin notes that since all the donations were legal, "The fundamental problem with the state's case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity."

    Liberals think unregulated campaign speech is a crime, but the real offense here was the DeLay prosecution. It was an attempt by a rogue prosecutor to ruin an unsympathetic political figure. Even Mr. DeLay doesn't deserve that, and he can take more than a little satisfaction in his formal acquittal.

    September 27, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Data Driven

    That's pretty classic from you, Just Saying. You cut and paste a column from the Wall Street Journal's OPINION page without attribution. Your first sentence, presumably, is yours.

    Can YOU clearly state YOUR opinion about why cash = speech? Judge Goodwin and the Wall Street Journal did; I disagree with them, and so did the jury who convicted DeLay.

    September 27, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Too bad he'll never make it past the primary. Ever since the GOP sold out to the far-right they've been having a problem. Namely that any candidate able to pass the primary and current leadership has to be so far to the right that they scare off the majority of independents. The GOP jumped on the horse known as the Tea Party, glued their hands to the saddle, and gave it the reigns hoping that it would carry them to easy wins. Now that its headed for the cliff and proven to stupid to stop they can't take the reigns back and jumping off would require having to sacrifice their hands.

    Should have listened to the "RINOs" who were telling you to can Palin and her crowd and stay the heck away from the Tea Party, GOP. Now you have to either sacrifice more than you gained by hooking up with them, or go over the cliff and join your precursors at the bottom of the cliff.

    September 27, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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