Thursday, April 20, 2006

Texas appeals court upholds dismissal of DeLay charge

Texas appeals court upholds dismissal of DeLay charge

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision to throw out a conspiracy charge against former U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay.

The Texas Third Court of Appeals said a lower court was correct when it quashed an indictment charging DeLay with conspiracy to violate state election law by allegedly funneling corporate money to Republican candidates for the state Legislature in 2002.

The court said the statute making conspiracy to violate election law a crime was not enacted until a year after DeLay is alleged to have participated in the effort to fund Republican candidates with corporate money.

DeLay said earlier this month he would abandon a re-election bid and resign his House seat this summer, in part because of indictments brought by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle.

DeLay still faces trial on money-laundering and conspiracy to launder money charges.

DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said the charges were part of an effort by Democrats like Earle to rewrite the 2002 election, when Republicans took control of the Legislature.

"It's payback against Tom DeLay," DeGuerin said.

[Note: Earle has proven to be quite bipartisan in his indictments, and is well respected by both parties in that regard.]