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Texas high court to consider reinstating DeLay conspiracy charges

[JURIST] Texas' highest court for criminal cases announced Wednesday that it will consider whether to reinstate conspiracy charges [JURIST document] against former US Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) [official profile; JURIST news archive]. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals [official website] granted a request [JURIST report] by Travis County Prosecutor Ronnie Earle [official profile], although it did not set a date for oral arguments. The charges of conspiracy to violate election law and conspiracy to commit money laundering were dismissed [JURIST report] last December after the trial court found that the campaign finance law DeLay allegedly broke was not enacted until after DeLay committed the acts for which he was indicted. In April, the Texas Third Court of Appeals affirmed that decision [JURIST report] but refused to dismiss money laundering charges [JURIST document]. In dismissing the conspiracy charges, the Third Court of Appeals noted that although Earle's arguments for reinstatement were strong, they conflicted with precedents established by the Court of Criminal Appeals. No trial date has been set for the money laundering charges.

DeLay and two other Republicans are accused of transferring $190,000 in corporate money directly to the Republican National Committee, which then donated the same amount to local Texas campaigns. DeLay and the other suspects have denied raising or spending money illegally. After he was indicted [JURIST report], DeLay stepped down as House majority leader and later resigned from Congress [JURIST reports]. DeLay withdrew his name from the November ballot [JURIST report] after several courts ruled that the Texas Republican Party could not name a new candidate to take his place. The Houston Chronicle has more.

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