Closing Arguments in DeLay Trial
Updated at 5:35pm: After the jury asked several questions of the judge during their deliberations, Judge Pat Priest says he will send jurors home for the night, without weighing in on one of their questions. Deliberations will resume in the morning.
Updated at 1:43 pm: Closing arguments have finished the case has been handed to the jury.
Earlier: Lawyers in the trial of former U.S. House majority leader Tom DeLay are finishing their closing arguments today.
DeLay is charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in conncection with what prosecutors say was a scheme to funnel illegally $190,000 in corporate donations to Texas legislative candidates in 2002.
This morning, the prosecution told jurors that DeLay had knowledge of and gave his blessing to the plan to send corporate money from DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, to the Republican National Committee. In exchange, the RNC would send the same amount back to 7 Republican candidates running for the legislature in Texas. Prosecutors say that constitutes money laundering.
Prosecutors played a tape of a 2005 interview with DeLay and the Travis County district attorney's office that had been played earlier in the trial. In the taped interview, DeLay said such "money swaps" were common, and indicated he knew at least some of the details of the TRMPAC/RNC swap before it happened.
DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, argued there was nothing illegal about the swap. He showed a slide to jurors that said "No corporate money went to candidates in Texas". He told the jurors that the corporate dollars sent to the RNC were entirely separate from the money, given by individuals, that came back to Texas. DeGuerin also said that DeLay had little to do with the day-to-day operations of Texans for a Republican Majority PAC, and had no knowledge of the swap.