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October 6, 2005
Grand Jury Shopping And Intimidation = Texas-Style Justice?

More about Ronnie Earle's legal practices as District Attorney for Travis County has come to light after garnering a snap indictment for money laundering against Rep. Tom DeLay. It turns out that Earle convened a third grand jury to add more charges -- because an unannounced second grand jury refused to indict DeLay at all, provoking Earle's ire:

A prosecutor tried to persuade a grand jury that Rep. Tom DeLay tacitly approved illegal use of campaign money and became angry when jurors decided against an indictment, according to two sources directly familiar with the proceeding.

"The mood was unpleasant," one source said Wednesday, describing prosecutor Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle's reaction. ...

Little was previously known about the grand jury that refused to indict DeLay, who has maintained his innocence and accused Earle a Democrat of bringing the prosecution to politically damage him. Earle has denied the allegation and pointed out he has indicted far more Democrats than Republicans.

One source said the sole evidence Earle presented to the grand jury that declined to indict was a DeLay interview with the prosecutor in August. DeLay reportedly said he was generally aware of activities of his associates.

The source said Earle tried to convince the jurors that if DeLay "didn't say, 'Stop it,' he gave his tacit approval."

Now we have a conspiracy charge based on a failure to say "Stop it", three tries at grand-jury indictments, and a bit of intimidation tossed in on top. This case against DeLay looks more and more like a bill of attainder against Earle, one that should result in sanctions on his ability to practice law in Texas rather than anything that DeLay should have to answer in criminal court.

How many other grand juries refused to indict DeLay on this "evidence"? How many others has Earle empaneled over the last few years, only to come back with nothing for his efforts? How much taxpayer money has gone down the Travis County drain for Earle's personal crusade against Tom DeLay?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 6, 2005 6:28 AM

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