DeLay's tormentor: Partisan or just power mad?

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There’s a telling line from Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle in the Chronicle‘s reporting of today’s indictment of Tom DeLay:

“I have done nothing wrong … I am innocent,” DeLay told a Capitol Hill news conference in which he repeatedly criticized the prosecutor, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. DeLay called Earle a “unabashed partisan zealot,” and “fanatic,” and described the charges as “one of the weakest and most baseless indictments in American history.”

In Austin, Earle told reporters, “Our job is to prosecute abuses of power and to bring those abuses to the public.

Earlier, I forwarded this to friend Orrin Judd, who wrote:

Mr. Earle’s statement seems to concede Mr. DeLay’s point. Mr. Earle is supposed to prosecute actual violations of the laws.

Yes, the laws.

The indictment is pretty sketchy on DeLay’s supposed violation of law. I’m no attorney, but Earle had better go to court with more than that or he could be setting himself up for a repeat of his Kay Bailey Hutchison fiasco.

Earle’s nearly messianic view of himself and his strange obsession with “abuse of power” instead of actual violation of law was captured in a December 2004 article in the Christian Science Monitor, which Orrin Judd also highlighted at the time.

The irony is that Earle’s obsession with “abuse of power” certainly led him to abuse the power of his own office in the Hutchison fiasco. The court proceedings will certainly let us know whether he’s done it again.

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