AUSTIN, Texas Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, once considered among the nation's most powerful and feared lawmakers, was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for a scheme to influence elections that already cost him his job, leadership post and millions of dollars in legal fees.
The sentence comes after a jury in November convicted DeLay, a Houston-area Republican, on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for using a political action committee to illegally send corporate donations to Texas House candidates in 2002.
Prosecutors said DeLay will likely be free for months or even years as his appeal makes it through the Texas court system.
Before being sentenced, DeLay repeated his longstanding claims that he did nothing wrong, the prosecution was politically motivated and that he never intended to break the law. DeLay was convicted in Travis County, one of the most Democratic counties in Texas, which is one of the most Republican states in the country.
"I can't be remorseful for something I don't think I did," DeLay said in a 10-minute speech to the judge.