Tom DeLay: Perry Must Be Prepared for Conviction, Jail Time

Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 05:26 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry must be prepared for the "worst-case scenario" — including a conviction and prison time — if an indictment filed against him sticks, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says.

"You have to plan for the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is his judge throws it out, but then the prosecution will appeal that," DeLay said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show."

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"My appeal from my conviction took three years, so — Rick Perry thinks he's going to throw this out? That's exactly what I thought, it would be thrown out or at the very least I could go to trial very quickly.

"No, they can drag it out as long as they want to; the judges and the prosecution are in control. They can drag it out … so he's going to be under this cloud for a while."

Austin is the county seat of Travis County.

Perry turned himself in to authorities Tuesday evening following his indictment for alleged abuse of power after attempting to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to quit after she was convicted on drunk driving charges.

In 2005, DeLay, a Texas congressman and Republican House Majority Leader, was indicted by Travis County DA Ronnie Earle for allegedly conspiring to break election laws three years earlier in a case that involved charges of money laundering.

DeLay was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison, but remained free on bail pending appeal. Last year, the Texas Court of Appeals ruled the evidence was "legally insufficient" and threw out the case.

DeLay said the Travis County DA's office has a "30-year history of intimidating elected officials" — both Democrats and Republicans — through its public integrity unit.

"They indicted Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the senator from Texas; they indicted and convicted me. Now they've indicted Rick Perry,'' he said. Hutchinson, indicted for alleged misconduct as state treasurer, was acquitted.

DeLay believes that unlike his indictment, which he says was politically motivated, Perry's is personal. "No self-respecting prosecutor would ever … put Rick Perry's case to a grand jury," he said.

But DeLay believes Perry should not put his rumored plans to seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination on hold — although fundraising will not be easy.

"You've got to understand that this cloud is hanging over your head … People are looking at this even if they're friends and supporters and they're saying, ah, do I want to put my money in this not knowing what the outcome is going to be? Maybe I'll wait,'' he said.

"Well, if you've got people waiting then you're going to have a tough time."

Perry's indictment has GOP strategists fuming about an alleged pattern of abuse by Democrats: When they can't beat Republicans at the polls, they try to indict them.

Lawmakers aren't the only ones who have been prosecuted.

Filmmaker and author Dinesh D'Souza, a frequent critic of President Barack Obama, pleaded guilty in May to illegally funneling approximately $20,000 through third parties to help a friend running for the U.S. Senate in New York. His plea agreement calls on him not to challenge a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months.

Meanwhile, DeLay said he feels "very confident" that Republican lawmakers can regain control of the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections.

"What I like seeing is the Republican candidates out there not just running against [President Barack] Obama, they're stepping up and standing on principle, standing on the Constitution," he said.

"There are 15 Senate seats in play. We only need six for a majority, so we can get at least six out of that 15, and we may see a better year than that.''

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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