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ALERT! Tom DeLay Indicted!

Reported by Nancy - September 28, 2005 -

Today (9/28) on FNL, Bill Hemmer anchored the noon hour & it was business as usual until the news of Tom Delay's indictment came across the wires.

Here's how it unfolded on FNL:

12:35pm - ALERT - "significant news" from TX: Tom DeLay & 2 political associates indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. House GOP rules require that any leader step down temporarily if indicted. Hemmer repeated DeLay's allegations about DA Ronnie Earle.

12:38pm - Brian Wilson in DC reported on the GOP House rules that DeLay cannot retain his "leadership" position; Wilson also repeated DeLay's allegations about DA Ronnie Earle but pointed out that Earle has a history of indicting both GOPs & Dems. Wilson's report was accompanied by much undated video of DeLay walking around confidently & smiling. Wilson characterized DeLay as playing "hardball politics." Hemmer asked who will take his place in the House, Wilson said that's an open question & discussed some of the options available. Hemmer asked about the substance of the indictment, Wilson clarified that it has to do with the TX State Legislature.

12:43pm - Hemmer interviewed Judge Andrew Napolitano about the DeLay indictment. During the interview they discussed David Dreier (R-CA) as one of the potential replacements for DeLay. Wilson elaborated a little on Napolitano's assessment of the importance of GOP control of state legislatures. Hemmer asked about the impact on the GOP agenda in DC. Wilson said it hasn't been a good week for GOPs, noting the SEC & DOJ investigations into Sen Bill Frist (R-TN). Hemmer asked Napolitano about DA Ronnie Earle. Napolitano said Earle is "openly & notoriously political" & that the "most unusual & bizarre thing" about him is that "he indicted himself" for failure to report campaign contributions.

12:50pm - Hemmer interviewed (by phone) former Rep Chris Bell (D-TX) about the indictment. Bell said it was long overdue. Hemmer asked about Earle, Bell said he has prosecuted more Dems than GOPs.

12:52pm - Hemmer asked Wilson about the 2 other people indicted with DeLay.

12:53pm - Hemmer continued to interview Napolitano about the indictment.

12:55pm - Hemmer read DeLay's official statement that he will step aside

12:56pm - Wilson confirmed that Dreier (R-CA) will replace DeLay

12:57pm - Hemmer interviewed (by phone) former Rep Martin Frost (D-TX) about the indictment. Frost was emphatic about the issues of GOP ethics, & called DeLay "divisive."

Comments: Yippee!

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