Mon January 10, 2011
DeLay Sentencing Hearing Underway
Update at 12:15 pm: Both sides have rested in the sentencing phase of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's trial. DeLay himself is expected to address the court when it reconvenes at 1:15 pm.
The defense only called one character witness: former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert. He testified about DeLay's political motivations and values. Under questioning from assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb, Hastert said DeLay had not expressed remorse for the crimes he was convicted of in November.
Prosecutors have said they will recommend jail time, though they would not say how many years. DeLay could also face fines of up to $20,000.
Earlier: The judge in the Tom DeLay trial is hearing testimony today from character witnesses as he prepares to decide on a punishment for the former US House Republican Majority Leader. DeLay could get up to 99 years in prison for his conviction on money laundering and conspiracy charges. The prosecution is allowed to call witnesses to testify about prior "bad acts" that could influence punishment.
The prosecution rested this morning, after the judge dismissed their only witness, businessman Peter Cloeren. Cloeren pled guilty to making illegal campaign donations in 1996. He was expected to testify he acted on DeLay's urging.
The defense is expected to call nine character witnesses, and could run into tomorrow. Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) took the stand for the defense first.