There are a lot of questions regarding the new money laundering charge brought against Tom DeLay yesterday. While I am a lawyer, I don't do criminal work for individuals (only corporations), so I didn't have a lot of my own answers, so I asked someone who would have more knowledge on the chess game gong on.
My friends theory is that DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, outsmarted himself (and note, this is just an educated guess). What most people don't know is that there is a lot of behind closed door negotiations that go on in criminal matters. It is a lot of back and forth between one of DeLay's attorneys and one of the ADAs in Austin while DeLay and Earle duke it out in front of the TV screens.
The theory goes that DeGuerin and Earle agreed that DeLay would waive his rights on the Statute of Limitations and plead no contest to the conspiracy charges. No contest means that the accused does not admit guilt, but does not contest the charges either. The conspiracy charge was one that is a lesser offence than money laundering, and carries a much lesser penalty. That is why DeLay was only going to be charged with a lesser offense when Earle could have gone for the full 9 yards in the first place.
Pleading no contest would allow DeLay to continue to claim he was innocent while averting a full on trial where, even if he is acquitted, a whole lot of skeletons are going to come tumbling from the closet. Even innocent people come out of a trial smelling pretty bad. Like I said, even if DeLay was acquitted, a trial would most likely be political and career suicide. He might even have problems getting a job on K Street afterwards.
Dick DeGuerin agreed to the plea, secretly knowing that he was going to get the charges thrown out because the offense DeLay is charged with did not become illegal until 2003, and DeLay had acted in 2002.
Earle, being bested by DeGuerin in the past, probably knew he had something up his sleeve and would not go through with the agreed upon plea deal. So, Earle kept the new charges in his back pocket until DeLay reneged on his plea. Since the Statute of Limitations for the specific actions had already been waived, Earle was able to go back in and get the new charges which carry up to life in prison.
This is just a theory, but if anyone doesn't think that there has been a lot going on behind closed doors, you are dead wrong. I can 100% guarantee you that Dick DeGuerin has been in constant contact with Ronnie Earle since day one when Earle made the first move - Pawn to Rook 3.