AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Prosecution and defense debated before an appeals court Wednesday whether laundering checks was illegal in Texas when Tom DeLay did it.
Brian Wice, representing the former U.S. House speaker, argued the Texas Legislature only added checks to the money laundering statute in 2005, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Holly Taylor, a prosecutor in Travis County, said the 2005 changes only clarified existing law and that many people were tried and convicted of money laundering for crimes that involved checks.
DeLay was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison. The sentence has been stayed pending appeal.
The charges involve a DeLay group, Texans for a Republican Majority. DeLay was found to have evaded laws on corporate political contributions by accepting $190,000 in donations, sending the money to the Republican National Committee and getting it back as funding for individual state candidates.
Judges in their questions asked whether corporations could make legal gifts to Texans for a Republican Majority.
DeLay did not attend the hearing before Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin.