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Prosecutors seek reinstatement of DeLay criminal conspiracy charges

[JURIST] Prosecutors argued in front of the Texas Third Court of Appeals [official website] Wednesday for reinstatement of criminal conspiracy charges dropped [JURIST report] against indicted US Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) [official website; JURIST news archive]. In December 2005, Senior District Judge Pat Priest ruled that the former majority leader could not be tried for conspiracy to violate the state election code for his actions in 2002 because the law was not enacted by the legislature until 2003. The prosecution maintains that the 2003 law was passed only to clarify previously existing law. The three-judge panel is not expected to rule on the issue for a month.

DeLay still faces money laundering charges [text] for allegedly funneling corporate donations into the campaign funds of state legislature candidates, which is a felony under the Texas Penal Code [text]. DeLay, who is running for re-election in November 2006, insists that the charges are politically motivated and that the appeal is a frivolous stall tactic; but in January, Priest refused [JURIST report] to grant his request for an expedited trial. AP has more.

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