If at first you don't succeed...

The common wisdom is that given the nature of grand juries, a prosecutor could get one to indict a ham sandwich. In this case, it appears that Earle found one which indicted a cartoon of a ham sandwich.

If you read through this Austin American—Statesman article, you'll see that when it became obvious that the original Tom DeLay conspiracy indictment (covering , by the way, conduct identical to that engaged in by the Texas Dems in 2002) was fatally flawed because it predated the Texas law making election conspiracies criminal, Ronnie Earle worked  to figure out how to continue his crusade against DeLay.

The first panel had been released. He needed, another. He empaneled another. It, refused to indict DeLay on  Earle's new theory of money laundering. He hid the fact that they returned a "no bill", something that normally is public record.

Never daunted by failure, Earle empaneled a third grand jury panel,  (making this, I think, the 8th  or 9th grand jury Earle empaneled over three years to deal with these issues). This time, the grand jury returned a money laundering indictment.

This grand jury, did not hear——could not have heard—— any fresh evidence against DeLay. Instead, it seems to have indicted him on a new charge in a total of four hours (counting swearing—in and orientation) based solely on a telephone poll taken by Earle's office of grand jurors who had indicted DeLay on conspiracy, a poll taken when it was clear the indictment they returned would probably be quashed.

I wouldn't bet  against the defense.

A Travis County grand jury last week refused to indict former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as prosecutors raced to salvage their felony case against the Sugar Land Republican.

In a written statement Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle acknowledged that prosecutors presented their case to three grand juries — not just the two they had discussed — and one grand jury refused to indict DeLay. When questions arose about whether the state's conspiracy statute applied to the first indictment returned last Wednesday, prosecutors presented a new money—laundering charge to second grand jury on Friday because the term of the initial grand jury had expired.

Working on its last day Friday, the second grand jury refused to indict DeLay. Normally, a "no—bill" document is available at the courthouse after such a decision. No such document was released Tuesday.

Earle's statement on Tuesday said he took money—laundering and conspiracy charges to a third grand jury on Monday after prosecutors learned of new evidence over the weekend.

Lawyers for DeLay immediately called foul after Earle released his statement after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"What could have happened over the weekend?" said Austin lawyer Bill White, who represents DeLay. "They investigate for three years and suddenly they have new evidence? That's beyond the pale!"

White suggested that Earle released his statement Tuesday because he feared reporters would learn about the no—bill.[emphases added]

The Austin paper's editorial page slams Earle:

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has added several more acts to the already circus—like investigation of alleged Republican campaign funding illegalities.

The latest act unfolded on Tuesday afternoon when Earle disclosed that he had gone grand jury shopping on Friday after an indictment against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, which was returned last Wednesday, was questioned for its legality....

Earle's panicked rush lends credence to those who complain that he is a partisan playing politics with the grand jury, and it gives ammunition to critics who argue that he has been hapless in his three—year probe.

Clarice Feldman   10 05 05

Reader John Light pointed us to Stephen Bainbridge's examination of Earle almost a year ago.

(This post expands on an earlier one.)

The common wisdom is that given the nature of grand juries, a prosecutor could get one to indict a ham sandwich. In this case, it appears that Earle found one which indicted a cartoon of a ham sandwich.

If you read through this Austin American—Statesman article, you'll see that when it became obvious that the original Tom DeLay conspiracy indictment (covering , by the way, conduct identical to that engaged in by the Texas Dems in 2002) was fatally flawed because it predated the Texas law making election conspiracies criminal, Ronnie Earle worked  to figure out how to continue his crusade against DeLay.

The first panel had been released. He needed, another. He empaneled another. It, refused to indict DeLay on  Earle's new theory of money laundering. He hid the fact that they returned a "no bill", something that normally is public record.

Never daunted by failure, Earle empaneled a third grand jury panel,  (making this, I think, the 8th  or 9th grand jury Earle empaneled over three years to deal with these issues). This time, the grand jury returned a money laundering indictment.

This grand jury, did not hear——could not have heard—— any fresh evidence against DeLay. Instead, it seems to have indicted him on a new charge in a total of four hours (counting swearing—in and orientation) based solely on a telephone poll taken by Earle's office of grand jurors who had indicted DeLay on conspiracy, a poll taken when it was clear the indictment they returned would probably be quashed.

I wouldn't bet  against the defense.

A Travis County grand jury last week refused to indict former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as prosecutors raced to salvage their felony case against the Sugar Land Republican.

In a written statement Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle acknowledged that prosecutors presented their case to three grand juries — not just the two they had discussed — and one grand jury refused to indict DeLay. When questions arose about whether the state's conspiracy statute applied to the first indictment returned last Wednesday, prosecutors presented a new money—laundering charge to second grand jury on Friday because the term of the initial grand jury had expired.

Working on its last day Friday, the second grand jury refused to indict DeLay. Normally, a "no—bill" document is available at the courthouse after such a decision. No such document was released Tuesday.

Earle's statement on Tuesday said he took money—laundering and conspiracy charges to a third grand jury on Monday after prosecutors learned of new evidence over the weekend.

Lawyers for DeLay immediately called foul after Earle released his statement after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"What could have happened over the weekend?" said Austin lawyer Bill White, who represents DeLay. "They investigate for three years and suddenly they have new evidence? That's beyond the pale!"

White suggested that Earle released his statement Tuesday because he feared reporters would learn about the no—bill.[emphases added]

The Austin paper's editorial page slams Earle:

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has added several more acts to the already circus—like investigation of alleged Republican campaign funding illegalities.

The latest act unfolded on Tuesday afternoon when Earle disclosed that he had gone grand jury shopping on Friday after an indictment against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, which was returned last Wednesday, was questioned for its legality....

Earle's panicked rush lends credence to those who complain that he is a partisan playing politics with the grand jury, and it gives ammunition to critics who argue that he has been hapless in his three—year probe.

Clarice Feldman   10 05 05

Reader John Light pointed us to Stephen Bainbridge's examination of Earle almost a year ago.

(This post expands on an earlier one.)