Senator DeLay gets MoveOn. judge removed:
From the LA Times:
WASHINGTON -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay won the first skirmish in his conspiracy and money laundering case today when a Texas judge was removed from presiding over the trial after DeLay's attorneys showed he has been a significant financial contributor to Democratic causes.District Judge Robert Perkins of Travis County, Texas, was removed at the close of a hearing in the state capital in Austin when a separate Texas district judge, brought out of retirement, ruled that Perkins' history of making 34 donations in the last five years to Democratic candidates and organizations suggested he would not be impartial in hearing the trial of the Republican member of Congress.
The visiting judge, C.W. Duncan, made the ruling without explanation. It now sets up the appointment of a new judge to preside over the trial. Under court rules, neither DeLay's lawyers nor state prosecutors can make recommendations on the selection of Perkins' replacement.Travis County Dist. Atty. Ronnie Earle, himself a Democrat who brought a series of grand jury indictments against DeLay and several of his Republican associates, had sought to keep Perkins on the case.
Earle viewed Perkins as fair, and not one to allow his political leanings to dictate his handling of the upcoming high-profile trial.Borrowing a line from Shakespeare, he said DeLay's complaint that Perkins would side against him was "much ado about nothing."Earle's assistant, prosecutor Rick Reed, argued at the hearing that there was no apparent "reasonable doubt that the judge is impartial."But Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's chief attorney, said in a telephone interview from Texas after the ruling that even in a state where judges are elected and may make political contributions, it just seemed improper for a judge who gave so much money — $5,585 — to federal and state Democratic candidates and causes to hear the case.
"There's no question he's very partisan," DeGuerin said. "In most cases, that wouldn't matter. But when partisan politics is what this case is all about, it doesn't look right for the judge to be on the opposite side of the person who is accused. That's as plain as the nose on your face." Perkins had sought to hang on to the job overseeing the trial. But legal papers filed last month by DeGuerin showed the judge consistently sent money to Democratic coffers, including contributions to the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, and the Democratic advocacy group, MoveOn.org.
Despite the fact that Tom DeLay is clearly getting railroaded by Texas Dems still upset by DeLay's help in getting George W. Bush four more years, the fact that DeLay's fate might've rested in the hands of a judge who contributed money to that insane, Leftist-propaganda machine known as MoveOn, added clear insult to injury.
The decision by Judge Duncan was the right one because it makes sure that Tom DeLay gets a fair trial and no matter which side of the political fence you stand on, if you truly believe in democracy, you'd want DeLay to at least have that.