Monday, January 10, 2011

Judge Brings Hammer Down on “The Hammer” Tom DeLay

AUSTIN, Texas -- As one political stalwart takes up the hammer as Speaker of the House, another “Hammer” sees the hammer fall on his career. On November 24, former House of Representatives Republican Leader Tom DeLay was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy charges by a jury of people whom he referred to as “those living near my home.” DeLay’s attorney said that the congressman refused to acknowledge the jury as “his peers,” as most of his peers had already distanced themselves from government or were serving time themselves. Today, the presiding judge sentenced DeLay to three years in prison.

Because of the lengthy appeals process involved, legal experts predict that several years could pass before DeLay, known as “The Hammer,” actually serves any time in prison. The former Republican heavyweight, also considered a flight risk, was fitted with a home detention monitoring device, attached to his ankle. Clem Schuss, operations manager for the Texas branch of San Narciso based Few and Shue Security, will oversee DeLay’s monitoring.

“The Hammer can hammer that anklet all he wants, but it ain’t coming off,” Schuss said.

The Charges
Judge Pat Priest sentenced DeLay to five years for money laundering and three years for conspiring in a scheme to illicitly siphon money to local Republicans in 2002. DeLay funneled $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to support other Republican candidates running for office in Texas. The court allowed DeLay to serve 10 years probation in lieu of the five-year sentence, but said that the three-year sentence for conspiracy would stand without the potential for probation.

After sentencing, DeLay read a prepared statement, allegedly co-authored by former Bush strategist Karl Rove. Through conspicuously circular rhetoric, DeLay said, “Judge, I can’t be more remorseful for something I don’t think I did. I have no desire to not say that your judgement was unfair, or that I didn’t unknowingly not take money that didn’t belong to me and give it to others for whom it was not unintended, but I know that you know that I know that the jury doesn’t think I’m not innocent. I fought the fight, ran the race and kept the faith.”

He concluded with, “Your Commie has no regard for human life, not even his own. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

Counsel was unable to make sense of DeLay’s final statements when questioned by stenographers.

Appeals Process
DeLay’s wife and daughter sat stoically through the reading of the sentence. When DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, announced plans to appeal the convictions and the sentence, which would keep his client out of jail for years, DeLay’s wife and daughter burst into tears.

Prosecutor Gary Cobb also said that DeLay would likely remain free after posting bail, at which point DeLay’s wife cried openly.

“We hear he’s pretty difficult to live with,” a bailiff told reporters.

Journeymen and Construction Workers Protest
The case, ending as anticipated by most insiders, seemed fairly straightforward. However, with the constant references to DeLay as “The Hammer,” unions representing craft workers such as carpenters and journeymen have taken issue with continuing to promote DeLay’s moniker in the press.

“I get the reference,” said Jesse Bodine, spokesperson for the San Narciso chapter of the Brotherhood of Carpenters trade union. “DeLay earned the nickname because of his ‘hard-driving’ style. But it’s annoying and inaccurate. Hammers are useful instruments that help put things together. They’re not tools for tearing things apart. He’s not a hammer. He’s a different kind of tool altogether.”

Bodine also noted, albeit incorrectly, that the congressman’s name last is French for “the lay,” an apparent allusion to the rigors he believes DeLay will face in prison.