Jack Plunkett/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay awaits sentencing in Austin, Texas on Monday Jan. 10, 2011.
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay awaits sentencing in Austin, Texas on Monday Jan. 10, 2011. Jack Plunkett/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tom DeLay, the former leader in a Republican Congress who was once known as the Hammer was not about to become a nail, even as he faced a state judge who held the power over the former lawmaker's next few years.
The judge sentenced DeLay to three years in state prison.
And so starts the next chapter in the life of former House majority leader, once one of Washington's most powerful men and, more recently, a participant on "Dancing with the Stars."
DeLay was convicted in November for his part in illegally funneling corporate money in 2002 to Republican Texas political candidates in what the prosecutor argued was essentially money laundering.
During his time as Majority Leader in the late 1990s and early 2000s DeLay, a former exterminator who had one of the most immovable hair helmets in the nation's capital, was known as a tough enforcer for the Republican majority, hence the fearsome nickname.
And he apparently still isn't one to wilt under pressure. He told Judge Pat Priest:
``I can't be remorseful for something I don't think I did.''
DeLay's lawyers had the former Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican who preceded Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the top House post, testify on DeLay's behalf.
The Associated Press reports on an exchange between Hastert, a character witness for DeLay, and a prosecutor who torpedoed Hastert's case for leniency:
Hastert, an Illinois Republican who was House speaker from 1999 to 2006, testified that DeLay was not motivated by power but for a need to help others.
Hastert talked about DeLay's conservative and religious values, his efforts to provide tax relief for his constituents in Texas, his work helping foster children and the help he provided to the family of one of the police officers who was killed in a 1998 shooting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
"That's the real Tom DeLay that a lot of people never got to see," Hastert said.
Lead prosecutor Gary Cobb asked Hastert if one of DeLay's religious and conservative values was taking acceptance for doing wrong.
Hastert said he hasn't personally heard DeLay take responsibility for the actions that resulted in his conviction.