Lines in the Sand: Congressional Redistricting in Texas and the Downfall of Tom Delay

By Steve Bickerstaff | Go to book overview

chapter 17
Criminal Investigations and Indictments

This act "the indictment of Congressman DeLay" is the product of a coordinated,
premeditated campaign of political retribution, the all-too-predictable result of a
vengeful investigation led by a partisan fanatic "District Attorney Ronnie Earle".

— congressman delay, september 28, 2005

Being called vindictive and partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by
a frog.

— DISTRICT ATTORNEY RONNIE EARLE, MARCH 6, 2005

At 9 a.m. on November 22, 2005, the ninth-floor courtroom for the 331st District Court of Travis County was packed.1 Over 100 eager onlookers crammed together on the public pews in the courtroom to observe the proceedings. Most were representatives of print and television media. Another ten persons (mostly county and court employees) were seated in the jury box along the east side of the room. Six severe-looking men stood at the door to the courtroom. They were security for the court and for the most notable defendant on this day, Congressman Tom DeLay. Outside the courtroom, another fifty persons gathered with their still and television cameras and microphones, hoping for a worthwhile glimpse of or a statement from one of the notables now gathering in the courtroom.

Congressman DeLay and his two codefendants passed through this sea of media, microphones, and cameras to enter the courtroom by the front door. DeLay seated himself on the left side of the courtroom, on the first bench of the public section nearest the attorneys and the court dais. He obviously was aware of the many eyes focused on him, but he sat generally expressionless, watching the front of the courtroom and the court bench. He seldom spoke to those around him. Jim Ellis and John Colyandro, officials of the Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (TRMPAC), were in

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