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I've not tested this fully but I know from running lead count reports it will affect your stats when deleting or merging. Regarding emails sent open/sent etc, I think this will not be affected. Its when you want to cross reference stats against lead count stats will be affected.
I'm not 100% certain either but my experience is similar to Edward's.
Events that have happened in the past (email opened, clicked, etc.) will still be reported as they are still true (those events still happened) even if they lead is presently deleted.
Reports that rely on a current member status (like program membership) will be affected because once the lead is deleted the underlying facts of that report change.