A ruling on Friday against Ronnie Earle suggests that the Delay case dismissal should soon follow:
"AUSTIN — A state district judge threw out a felony indictment against the Texas Association of Business on Thursday, ruling that the group's ads in the 2002 legislative elections did not expressly advocate the defeat or election of candidates.
The ruling is probably a significant blow to Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's prosecution of the state's largest and most powerful business lobby.
The group's ads "severely test, but do not cross" the line into "express advocacy," Judge Mike Lynch ruled.
In 2002, the business group spent about $1.7 million on what it deemed "issue ads" in legislative races, supporting Republican candidates. [snip].
Judge Lynch's order said prosecutors' theory of illegal campaign expenses, while innovative, cannot be found in the state election code. Even if it were, it would be unconstitutionally broad and vague, he said."
As you may recall, one charge against Delay has already been dismissed. Two——"money laundering" and conspiracy—— remain to be tried. And one of his attorneys earlier noted Earle's "innovative approach" to the law:
"In asking that the case be thrown out, DeLay lawyer Dick DeGuerin argued that one of the charges —— conspiracy to violate the Texas election code —— did not even take effect until September 2003, a year after the alleged offenses occurred."
Clarice Feldman 7 1 06