Tom Delay, once the Majority Leader in the US House of Representatives and scourge of the Democrats in Washington, was facing a lengthy prison sentence last night after a jury convicted him of funnelling illicit corporate money to Republican candidates in his native Texas.
The guilty verdicts completed an extraordinary fall from grace for DeLay, who for years reigned as one of the most influential – and feared – political operators on Capitol Hill. The jury deliberated for 19 hours after a three-week trial in which prosecutors said DeLay got around state election laws in the 2002 elections to channel $190,000 to seven of his party's candidates in Texas
Known for years as "The Hammer" for his take-no-prisoners style, DeLay, who was he second most senior Republican on Capitol Hill before his downfall, made no comment after he was found guilty of money laundering and conspiring to commit money laundering.
For the money laundering charge alone he could face life imprisonment.
Texan Republicans vied to strengthen their grip on the Texas legislature in 2002 because they would be involved, two years later, in re-drawing the state's constituency boundaries.