DeLay remains confident as trial proceeds

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By JUAN A. LOZANO
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 3, 2010; 6:57 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay remained confident he would prevail at his money laundering trial, telling reporters on Wednesday he believes prosecutors have yet to present any evidence that he did anything that broke the law.

DeLay, the once powerful but polarizing lawmaker, is accused of using his political action committee to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate donations into Texas legislative races eight years ago. DeLay has denied any wrongdoing and says no corporate money went to Texas candidates.

Nine witnesses who prosecutors have presented to jurors since testimony began Monday have detailed how the PAC was run, how it raised money, donations given to the PAC and DeLay's role in its operation.

But prosecutors said they expect the 10th witness, Warren Robold, the PAC fundraiser who had also been indicted in the alleged scheme, to provide jurors with a better understanding of the case. Lead prosecutor Gary Cobb declined to comment on what Robold would tell jurors, only saying it would be "interesting."

Robold, who testified briefly late Wednesday, was to be back on the stand Thursday. Robold had been indicted on charges of accepting illegal corporate contributions. Cobb said the charges were dismissed earlier this year and that Robold is not testifying as part of any agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecutors have implied that DeLay was the driving force behind the political group. But ex-PAC workers, including DeLay's daughter, told jurors DeLay had little involvement in running the group. No witness has directly tied DeLay to the alleged scheme.

"It's politics. It's nothing criminal about it," DeLay told reporters, referencing what the PAC did.

The presentation of evidence has been methodical and driven by documents, and testimony has often gone into great detail about the country's political process, including fundraising and the role of lobbyists.

In questioning DeLay's daughter, Danielle DeLay Garcia, who worked as an event planner for the PAC, prosecutors highlighted some of the corporate donations DeLay's PAC received.

DeLay's lawyers have said the Texas PAC can legally get corporate money but it can't send it to candidates, which they say didn't happen.

"Money is the lifeblood of politics isn't it?" Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney, asked Garcia earlier Wednesday. "That's just politics isn't it?"

During Wednesday afternoon testimony, three lobbyists told jurors their companies had donated corporate money to DeLay's Texas PAC, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. All three lobbyists told jurors the donations were made with no intention of breaking the law


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