Tom DeLay Awaits Decision in Request for Dismissal
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay returned to a courtroom in Austin, Texas, today, hoping to get the indictment against him dismissed. He is charged with money laundering and conspiracy. Ronnie Earle, the Travis County district attorney, filed those charges in connection with fund raising DeLay did for Texas legislative candidates in 2002. Larry Schooler of member station KUT gives us a quick update.
LARRY SCHOOLER reporting:
Much of the hearing focused on what happened to corporate contributions collected by the Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, or TRMPAC, which Congressman DeLay helped start. The district attorney's office argues TRMPAC sent $190,000 in corporate contributions to the Republican National Committee. The RNC later sent an equivalent sum back to Texas legislative candidates, which, prosecutors argue, amounts to money laundering and a violation of the Texas Election Code. But DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, says prosecutors blundered in describing how TRMPAC handled the corporate contributions.
Mr. DICK DeGUERIN (Attorney for Tom DeLay): And I'm very encouraged, particularly by what the state said, that this is not the same money. It's what we've been saying all along.
SCHOOLER: DeGuerin was disappointed he couldn't get the judge hearing the case, Pat Priest, to rule immediately on his motion to dismiss the charges against DeLay. Judge Priest wants more time to review the many legal briefs filed in the case; the judge said he'd been up all night doing just that. Priest says he expects to have a ruling within two weeks. If he rejects the motion to dismiss the charges, trial might not begin until early next year, which further complicates DeLay's hopes of returning to his leadership post. For NPR News, I'm Larry Schooler in Austin.
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