DeLay Was Praying When News of Overturned Conviction Came
Posted at 12:54 p.m. on Sept. 19
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
It’s almost too good to be true that former Majority Leader Tom DeLay was a stone’s throw from Capitol Hill when he heard the news of his acquittal on Thursday morning.
The Texas Republican, who for the past decade has been battling charges of money laundering and faced a prison sentence, happened to be in town for a meeting with some “prayer warriors,” as he called them, to possibly collaborate on forming a new coalition to bring faith back into politics.
They were at, of all places, the infamous C Street House when the lawyer called to say a Texas appeals court had thrown out his money-laundering conviction, ruling 2-1 that the evidence was “legally insufficient.”
“We were basically on our knees in prayer when my lawyer called and said, ‘You’re a free man,’” DeLay told a gaggle of reporters Thursday shortly before noon. He was on the first floor on the House side of the Capitol to attend the Texas GOP delegation’s weekly luncheon — another coincidence.
Nicknamed “The Hammer” during his days as the Republican whip, DeLay was poised and even-tempered on Thursday. He attributed much of that calm to God.
“People always say, ‘a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.’ In my case, I never had that burden. The Lord carried that burden for me,” DeLay said. “It drove my detractors crazy because I had the Lord Jesus and they didn’t understand it.”
He said he spent more than $12 million in legal fees throughout the ordeal.
DeLay said on Thursday that despite his exoneration he had no plans to seek political office again, adding that anybody who’s been paying attention over the years knows that he hasn’t really gone too far or disappeared from the spotlight.
Since his 2005 indictment and 2006 resignation from Congress, DeLay’s activities have included a book deal and a stint on “Dancing With the Stars.”
But would he stick around after lunch to help whip the afternoon votes like the good old days?
“They haven’t asked me, but I’ll do it!” he said with a laugh.