Tom DeLay, WATB* Du Jour

From Holden:

Mo-om! That mean prosecutor is doing his job again! Waaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

The lawyer for U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay is accusing Travis County prosecutors of abusing their power to subpoena records while the criminal case against the Sugar Land Republican is on hold.

Over the past three months, prosecutors have issued more than 30 subpoenas, mostly trying to tie DeLay closer to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. They came after the trial court temporarily suspended its jurisdiction while it waits for a ruling on a pre-trial appeal.

Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin on Tuesday asked the state 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin to rescind all subpoenas but particularly one for DeLay’s wife, Christine. Prosecutors are seeking records for a 2000 golfing trip to Scotland in which Abramoff paid for the DeLays’ $14,001 airline tickets.

[snip]

[Prosecutors] successfully argued in December that Judge Pat Priest could not hold pre-trial hearings that Delay had wanted while they are appealing a dismissed indictment. But, at the same time, they are issuing the subpoenas for a case on hold.

Rick Reed, in the Travis County district attorney’s office, said prosecutors simply are preparing for trial and are not asking the trial judge to do anything.

“Judge Priest will expect the state to be ready for trial when the Court of Appeals renders its decision, so we can’t afford to postpone getting ready for trial,” Reed said.

As if to drive home their point, prosecutors issued another subpoena Wednesday, seeking records involving a 1996 East Texas congressional election, where DeLay may have helped a candidate.

[snip]

Last fall, Travis County grand juries indicted DeLay on two different conspiracy charges: money-laundering and violations of the state election code.

Priest allowed the money-laundering charge to stand but struck down the election code indictment, saying conspiracy doesn’t apply to that statute.

Travis County prosecutors appealed the dismissed indictment, and Priest stepped aside pending that appeal.

When prosecutors filed a subpoena for Christine DeLay, her husband’s lawyers asked Priest to strike it down as invalid.

In an e-mail to lawyers, Priest refused to get involved, citing the law that stops or stays all action pending the appeal.

“Accordingly, I do not intend to set any hearings on motions to quash subpoenas. Similarly, I will not entertain any motions by the State to enforce subpoenas.

“Stay means stay,” Priest wrote.

In a motion to the appellate court filed late Tuesday, DeGuerin claimed that the district attorney’s office is abusing the system.

*Whiny-Ass-Titty-Baby, favorite appellation of my mother and uber-commenter four legs good, made popular by blogger Atrios.