Updated 11/23/2010 09:43 AM
Tom DeLay’s fate now in the hands of a jury
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Texas law states the jury is the judge in a criminal case, and in Tom DeLay’s money laundering trial, the waiting game of knowing the final outcome continues.
"The state hasn't proved their case," DeLay told reporters after closing arguments.
The trial began 22 days ago. It’s a case surrounded by politics and alleged money laundering, that stretches from Travis County all the way to the nation’s Capitol. Earlier Monday, both sides presented passionate closing arguments in front of a packed courtroom.
"It doesn't matter if its the mob, theft, or drug money," says prosecutor Beverly Matthews. "It doesn't matter if its political money, it's all money laundering."
Matthews works for the District Attorneys Public Integrity Unit and has been working on the DeLay case since 2004, one year before the Texans for a Republican Majority indictments came down.
She was the first attorney to argue the state's case before the jury of six men and six women on Monday.
Matthews gave a courtroom illustration of how simple money laundering can be in front of the jury.
Pointing at prosecutor Steve Brand, Matthews asked, "If I pulled out a hundred dollar bill and wanted to give it to Gary Cobb and couldn't 'cause it was illegal but put it in Steve's left pocket and he pulled out two $50 dollar bills and gave it to Gary, do you think we have successfully washed the money?"
"The money is not dirty," defense attorney Dick DeGuerin told the jury.
The seasoned DeGuerin hammered away at the point that an illegal transaction never occurred, attacking the credibility of the state's indictments against former Congressman DeLay. "I don't agree with criminalizing a debate that should go on in public forum."
For the state, the prosection said bringing a man that legislates law to answer to the law is nothing to take lightly.
“It's something, in Texas, that we take very seriously," Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb told reporters shorty after closing on Monday. "The people that we vote for in Texas, make life or death decisions. They make decisions about how our kids are educated and the quality of life in our communities. For those people to have a corrupting influence on the electoral process is unacceptable."
DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, stayed on script, disagreeing against all the charges the Travis County District Attorney’s Office brought against his client.
"They haven't showed that DeLay did anything," DeGuerin said. "They really haven't shown there was a crime at all."
Courtroom spectator Charlotte McCann said she felt lucky to get a seat for the closing, and was impressed by the arguments of prosecutor Gary Cobb.
"He seemed very straight forward and open and passionate," she said.
DeGuerin showed equal passion in front of the jury, continuing to argue no law was broken.
Cobb countered by citing the 100-year-old Texas Constitution law banning corporate money in state elections. He said the law is easy to understand.
"There is no confusion about the law. No one is confused about the issue of whether you can send corporate funds to candidates, that's crystal clear," DeGuerin said.
What is not clear, is what the verdict of the jury will be.
Judge Pat Priest said if the jury has not made a decision about guilt or innocence by the end of the day Wednesday, he will let them go home to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday break.