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Twelve questions for Mr. Earle

Tom DeLay’s office has forwarded a copy of the letter attorney Dick DeGuerin sent to prosecutor Ronnie Earle today in connection with the Travis County criminal proceedings involving Delay. The letter formulates 12 questions regarding “the five days of panic” between September 28 and October 3, the relevance of which is explained below. Here is the text of the letter minus DeGuerin’s questions for Earle:

This letter is intended as a courtesy to give you fair notice that I have requested subpoenas for you, Rosemary Lehmberg and Rick Reed seeking testimony concerning the events that occurred during the five day period from September 29 to October 3, 2005. The subpoenas seek all documents, notes, telephone records, and other relevant materials that you or your staff may have in your possession relating to the events that transpired during that period.
I am determined to put of record the steps taken by you and your staff to obtain a replacement indictment against my client, Tom DeLay during the five day period mentioned above. The first indictment for “conspiracy to violate the Texas Election Code,” charged a crime that did not exist in Texas law. I have filed a motion to dismiss the later indictment on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and with those subpoenas seek evidence in support of that motion. I will soon file additional motions.
In the meantime, however, it would expedite our inquiry if you would agree to an immediate deposition to answer the questions set out below, and, given the highly public nature of this matter, I believe it would be in the interest of justice.
Since it appears you have already violated the grand jury secrecy laws (by discussing pending grand jury matters with citizens who were no longer serving as grand jurors and by encouraging form Grand Jury Foreman William Gibson to speak to the press) your answers to questions about those conversations are not protected. Foreman William Gibson’s extensive public discussion of the case, which he says you approved, has already revealed information about Grand Jury deliberations. The media has reported several conversations with grand jurors on these matters; thus you should not hide behind the grand jury secrecy law.
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If you did nothing improper you should not be concerned about answering these questions. I urge you and your staff to cooperate in my effort to quickly and fairly reconstruct the events of the five day period. Eventually, all the information will come out. It always does. In such cases it is always better for public officials to voluntarily disclose, and do it quickly, rather than to be forced to do so by a court of law.
I trust you are aware of the provisions of TEX. CRIM. PROC. CODE ANN. art. 20.02(d) that permit release of grand jury information upon the showing of a particularized need. This letter is attached as an exhibit to our Motion for Disclosure of Grand Jury Information pursuant to Art. 20.02 of the Code of Criminal Procedure…
I also remind you and your staff to preserve all documents and avoid any conversations among yourselves or with the other potential witnesses that might interfere with our quest for the truth. Needless to say, our allegation of prosecutorial misconduct concerns due process and fairness for the accused. I can think of no particularized need that is of more importance in our system of criminal justice.

As indicated in the text of the letter, DeGuerin has now filed a motion to quash the charges against DeLay on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct. He has also served a subpoena for documents relevant to the issue of prosecutorial misconduct. The AP story covering today’s developments is here. Stay tuned.
JOHN adds: Ronnie Earle is a bully who now finds himself in a fair fight. It’s fun to watch. From the moment Earle procured the first indictment of Tom DeLay, DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, has had him on the defensive. It looks to me as though Earle is now hanging on by his fingernails.
The cover of the current issue of Newsweek headlines an article about purported corruption in the Republican Party, with photos of DeLay and Bill Frist. If, as I expect, the two phony indictments of DeLay are dismissed, it will be interesting to see whether Newsweek puts a smiling Tom DeLay on its cover, with an article about the Majority Leader’s vindication.
SCOTT adds: A reader writes in complaining that we don’t evaluate the legal merits of the motion and subpoena. I find the contents of the letter notable regardless of the legal merits of the court filings for reasons that should be self-evident.

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