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Breaking the Law to Enforce It

DeLay Will Plead Guilty

You heard it here first: Tom DeLay will plead guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy in Texas.

The House Speaker was indicted by a Texas grand jury today. He is charged with conspiracy to violate campaing financing laws. Two political associates of DeLay's were also indicted.

A spokesman for DeLay was quick to blame partisan politics for DeLay's newfound status as defendant. "They could not get Tom DeLay at the polls. They could not get Mr. DeLay on the House floor. Now they're trying to get him into the courtroom," huffed Kevin Madden, a DeLay mouth-for hire.

Let's be real. Only Tom got Tom. He is no victim of a conspiracy. He is accused of taking corporate cash, laundering it through the Republican National Committee, and then having it distributed to Texas Republicans in violation of Texas law. Sooooooee, said Tommy.

So why am I so sure he'll plead? A line in the indictment notes that his lawyer waived the statute of limitations on the conspiracy charge during grand jury proceedings. Why would a competent lawyer waive a complete defense? Because worse was on the way if he did not.

Initiates know the practice as charge-bargaining. You see a funnel cloud barreling at you and you ask your local prosecutor, quietly, "on what charges are you willing to take my client if he pleads?" I suspect DeLay will enter a plea late in the year.

DeLay gets time to step aside. House Republicans get a chance to regroup and spin the cancer out of their midst.

I wonder if Karl Rove will offer Delay a job supervising intelligence operations. A hatchet like Tom's is hard to find.