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Prosecutors urge court to restore DeLay charge

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2007/01/26 17:17

Prosecutors attempting to restore a conspiracy charge against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay argued Wednesday that the "plain language" of Texas law means he can be charged with conspiring to violate the election code.

But lawyers for DeLay and two co-defendants told the Court of Criminal Appeals that the law is clear in their view -- that conspiracy was added to the state election code after prosecutors allege the crime happened.

"Historically, there have been limitations on the use of conspiracy laws," said DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin of Houston.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's office is appealing lower court rulings that threw out the charge accusing DeLay and Republican fundraisers Jim Ellis and John Colyandro of conspiring to violate the Texas election code and its ban on corporate campaign contributions.

It could be weeks or months before the appeals court makes a decision.

DeLay and the co-defendants are still charged with money laundering and conspiracy to launder money, but state District Judge Pat Priest has said he does not have jurisdiction and cannot hold a trial until the appeals court makes its ruling.


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