Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, who famously refused to prejudge Osama bin Laden’s guilt, is standing by his judgment that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay may deserve jail time for allegations of corruption.
“Tom DeLay is corrupt. No question about it,” Dean said Friday. “This is a guy who shouldn’t be in Congress and maybe ought to be serving in jail.”
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The House ethics committee is investigating whether DeLay violated congressional rules by taking foreign trips paid for by lobbyists. The Texas Republican has not been charged with a crime, but Dean said he would not apologize for saying earlier this month that DeLay “ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence.”
Asked whether he was rushing to judgment, the former Vermont governor said with a laugh, “I got in trouble because I wouldn’t convict Osama bin Laden. Maybe I’ve learned something.”
As a Democratic presidential candidate in December 2003, Dean refused to say whether bin Laden should be tried in the United States and put to death for terrorism. “I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials,” Dean said in 2003.