A Texas judge sentenced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) to three years in prison Monday on laundering and conspiracy charges, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
Judge Pat Priest gave DeLay three years on charges that he conspired to launder corporate money for use in political races. On a separate money laundering charge, the former Speaker was sentenced to five years, but that sentence was suspended in favor of 10 years of probation.
The judge said that he agreed with the jury’s guilty verdict, and that there is no higher principle than those who write the laws should also follow it.
DeLay was immediately taken into custody, but was expected to be released after posting appeals bond.
The Statesman reported that the judge cleared the courtroom so that an unrepentant DeLay could speak.
“I fought the fight. I ran the race. I kept the faith,” he reportedly said.
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) also spoke on DeLay’s behalf.
Earlier in the day, Travis County prosecutor Steven Brand argued that DeLay should begin his sentence immediately.
“He needs to go to prison, your Honor, and he needs to go today,” he said.
But DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, told the judge that the guilty verdict alone was punishment enough.
“Tom DeLay was convicted of a felony,” he said. “That alone is consequence is enough.”
DeGuerin said that while DeLay accepted the sentence, he did not agree with it. He has promised to appeal.
In November, jurors found the former Majority Leader guilty on charges that he used his political action committee to illegally channel $190,000 in corporate donations into 2002 Texas legislative races through a money swap.
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