The defense rested last week and the prosecution and defense wrapped up with their final arguments in the money laundering trial of former Dancing With the Stars contestant Tom DeLay today.
And oh, yes, former congressman.
Hopefully soon-to-be former free man.
But I have my doubts. Judge Pat Priest, who appeared to be more of a help than a hurt to the prosecution gave the jury too little latitude in deciding whether a conspiracy existed with Tom DeLay one of the conspirators.
In his charge to the jury, Judge Priest said this:
“Likewise, participation in a conspiracy cannot be proven merely by the fact that a person knew of a conspiracy and was associated with or in the presence of persons involved in the conspiracy.”
Well that pretty much was the prosecution’s case. That Tom DeLay knew of the conspiracy beforehand. Knew about it and did nothing.
It’s just like saying that if you know that your best friend or co-worker is conspiring to kill his wife, then does it, and you do nothing to prevent it, that makes you maybe morally culpable, but not guilty of participation in the conspiracy.
It’s a fine line, and Judge Priest definitely crossed it.
It is also reported at the Chron that half the jury wore black today on the final day of the trial. While the hope is that the jury was dressing for Tom DeLay’s funeral, it could also be that they were dressing in mourning of the death of modern democracy.
I sure would if I were on the jury.