Texas judge Pat Priest threw out one of three indictments against Tom DeLay, finding that prosecutor Ronnie Earle, in charging DeLay with conspiring to commit election fraud, misinterpreted the state's election code. Once again acting as though the law shouldn't hinder his relentless campaign against DeLay, Earle has pledged to file an appeal of the dismissal. If the dismissal is upheld--as we suspect it will be--the prosecutor will look like both a lousy lawyer and a partisan hack. (Such suspicions should be strengthened by Earle's tactic of convening a "do over" grand jury to charge DeLay when the original grand jury declined to do so.) Charges of money laundering and conspiracy to launder money remain, but if Earle fails to produce a conviction--as, again, we suspect will be the case--he'll be further discredited. But the prosecutor has one good hope left: If DeLay's colleagues replace him as majority leader before his vindication in court, they will deliver to Earle a victory the law couldn't provide.
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