Tom DeLay Found Guilty; Faces Life in Prison

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. He now faces anywhere from probation to the possibility of life in prison.

The jury deliberated for 19 hours before finding DeLay guilty on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

DeLay has chosen to have the judge sentence him. He faces five years to life in prison on the money laundering charge and two to 20 years on the conspiracy charge. He could also get probation.

Prosecutors said DeLay used his political action committee to illegally channel $190,000 in corporate donations into 2002 Texas legislative races through a money swap.

DeLay and his attorneys maintained the money swap was legal. And they said no corporate funds, only individual donations, went to Texas candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can't go directly to political campaigns.

They also said DeLay only lent his name to the PAC and had little involvement in how it was run.

DeLay was once one of the most feared Republicans in Washington, whose less-than-subtle style earned him the nickname "The Hammer,"