October 15, 2005
-- by John Emerson
Tom DeLay and his allies are trying to discredit Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor who indicted him. (Details here, here, and here.) This is an obvious attempt to go directly to the jury pool in order to influence the eventual verdict.
Two can play that game. It shouldn't be too hard or too expensive to send the registered voters in that area a fact-sheet listing DeLay's ethical lapses: his links to Abramoff, his recent warning from the toothless House Ethics Committee, the actual facts of the case for which Earle is prosecuting him, and anything else that's vivid enough to make a potential juror stop and think for a few seconds.
This seems like a no-brainer to me, but I don't have two dimes to rub together, and the Democrats who do have money always seem to have their own ideas about how it should be spent: "We don't want to sink to their level."
But maybe a maverick will jump out of the bushes and do what needs to be done. It shouldn't even cost much.
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I believe it's a crime to try to influence a jury pool. My guess is that they are trying it to get a change out of Austin. The trial will be in Austin, right? If I were a pig like Delay, I'd want ANY place in Texas over Austin, and I pay big and risk a lot for the change.
I think that it's only a crime to try to influence a jury once it's chosen.
However, you're right -- maybe DeLay is trying to get the trial moved out of Austen. In which case my suggestion of matching DeLay's propaganda efforts might backfire.
So maybe my post wasn't so smart.
Posted by: John Emerson at October 15, 2005 6:15 PM
I don't know how the totally idiotic idea entered my head that it's criminal to try to influence a prospective jury pool.
But, my main thought was that Delay is trying to do just that with the clear intention of challenging the Austin venue. It would be interesting to see if the anti-Earle advertisements were targeted at Texas media markets where Delay might reasonably expect an unsympathetic jury. It would be amusing for Delay to offer a variant of the parenticidal orphan's defense: I can't be tried in these unsympathetic areas because I have intentionally corrupted the jury pools there! Exactly the kind of brazenness we've come to love from the modern repugs.
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