A U.S. judge has sentenced a former top leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, to serve at least three years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy.
The judge in Austin, Texas in the southern United States ruled Monday that DeLay should serve three to five years, instead of granting his attorneys' request for probation.
A Texas jury in November 2010 deliberated for 19 hours before finding DeLay guilty of laundering money and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was convicted of illegally funneling $190,000 of corporate money to several Republican candidates for the Texas legislature in 2002.
The judge granted a request from Delay's attorneys that he be released on a $10,000 bond, pending appeal. Prosecutors say DeLay could be free for months or even years as his appeal makes its way through the Texas court system.
The former Republican House majority leader has called the convictions an abuse of power and a miscarriage of justice.
DeLay once held the post of majority leader in the House of Representatives and was nicknamed "The Hammer" for his heavy-handed style.