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TalkLeft: Delay, Earle, and the REAL story behind the Hutchison case.

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RSchewe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:22 AM
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TalkLeft: Delay, Earle, and the REAL story behind the Hutchison case.
This is a great retrospective piece from TalkLeft and should put to rest the false claim of Ronnie Earle being "defeated" in the Hutchison case:

DeLay and Earle: Hutchison Redux?

From the Texas Monthly, February, 2005, (available on an article profiling Texas DA Ronnie Earle: Much of the article is flattering to Earle, but it also talks about Earle's failed attempt in 1993 to have then-Governor Ann Richards appoint him to be U.S. Senator when Lloyd Bentson left to join Clinton's cabinet. Instead, she appointed a conservative Democrat who went on to lose to Kay Bailey Hutchison in the election. The article describes Earles' humiliating retreat and surrender in the Hutchison case (she was ordered acquitted by the Court on the first day of the scheduled jury trial after he announced he wanted to drop the charges.) There was an issue as to admissibility of evidence which the judge refused to rule on before trial, and on the first day of trial, not knowing what the ruling would be, Earle told the judge he wanted to drop the charges.

That same year, after hearing evidence from Ronnie and the Public Integrity Unit, a grand jury indicted Hutchison on allegations of using state employees for personal and campaign tasks and then destroying state files that documented the abuse. Hutchison was outraged by the indictments, as were two political advisers named Karl Rove and Karen Hughes. In seeking the Senate appointment from Richards, Ronnie had left himself open for an effective counterspin: The guy didn't get to be the senator, so he went after Hutchison in a fit of jealousy and spite.

Here's what happened:

The newly elected senator's team was led by Texas's hottest defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin. Ronnie assigned his first assistant to argue the case, but he broke his customary rule and went to court himself. John Onion, a respected judge, voiced doubts during pretrial hearings about the admissibility of evidence the prosecution had built its case on. To the astonishment of courtroom observers, Ronnie abruptly announced that the state was not going to go forward with its prosecution. Thunderstruck, Onion barked some exasperated remarks and declined to let the matter go with the charges merely being dropped -- he ordered the jury to acquit her.

Ronnie says that the revelations about the innocent men his office and Travis County juries had sent to prison were by far the lowest point of his career. But politically, the Hutchison fiasco is the albatross he hung around his own neck. "The greenest lawyer from Podunk knows not to do what Ronnie did," said the lawyer who had observed the Mattox case. "You don't go into any trial, certainly not one of that magnitude, without a plan B. The judge hadn't said he was going to bar the evidence Ronnie's team had accumulated; he said he was going to examine it piece by piece, and he might disallow it. What you do is play it out and see. Maybe you can bring the judge around. Develop a plan B. But an able courtroom prosecutor would never just call it down."

Lawyers are habitual Monday-morning quarterbacks, and even Ronnie's Democratic allies in the Travis County courthouse are not inclined to let him forget that episode. One wisecrack has it: "The bad news for Tom DeLay is that he might get indicted. The good news is that he would be prosecuted by Ronnie Earle."

DeLay bragged Thursday (probably to his lawyer's chagrin) about his lawyer having beaten Earle before:

My lawyer's better than him. He's already taught him a lesson," Mr. DeLay said, referring to Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin's successful defense of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in a case that Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle famously dropped before trial.

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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:27 PM
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1. I was wondering about the Hutchison case, thanks for this.n/t
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:38 PM
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2. So the Hutchinson case was dropped because of inexperience?
Shame on Ronnie! I suspect he learned a very valuable lesson though. I'd bet this investigation isn't going to go that way. Tom, you're not walking on this one!

Molly Ivans said the other night that Ronnie was burned bad by the Hutchinson case, and I don't think he will le that happen again.

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