(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for helping divert corporate funds into Texas candidates' coffers in 2002.
A jury convicted DeLay in November of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. A Texas judge on Monday sentenced DeLay to a three-year term on the conspiracy charge and five years for the money laundering charge, but allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of the extra five years in prison.
DeLay, once one of the most powerful members of the U.S. House of Representatives, had faced up to life in prison.
After 19 hours of deliberation and a three-week trial, a jury concluded that DeLay illegally funneled $190,000 in corporate donations through the Republican National Committee to Republican candidates for the Texas legislature. Under Texas law, candidates cannot use private funds for campaigns.
The prosecution alleged that it was part of a strategy to ensure that Republicans were in charge of drawing the Texas district map that would favor the GOP in Washington.
DeLay's sentencing comes at the start of the year that is once again expected to feature a redistricting bloodbath as Republicans and Democrats fight over how to draw congressional and district boundaries.
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