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DeLay's Trial Still Delayed

by TChris

Tom DeLay had hoped that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals would agree that he should be tried on a pending money laundering charge immediately. A prompt acquittal might have given him a chance to resume a meaningful (i.e., disastrous) role in Congress despite his decision to relinquish his leadership position. DeLay’s slim hopes were dashed today, however, as the Court of Criminal Appeals refused to give him his requested relief.

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DeLay Loses Support of House Republicans

Tom DeLay's chances of recapturing his House leadership position dropped dramatically today when several Republicans in the House asked for new elections to be held promptly.

"It's clear that we need to elect a new majority leader to restore the trust and confidence of the American people," said Rep. Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, as two fellow Republicans circulated a petition calling for new elections.

Who's on tap?

Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who took over as majority leader temporarily when DeLay stepped aside following his indictment on state charges, is certain to run for the post if new elections are held. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, a former member of the leadership, is his likeliest rival, and there may be other contenders as well.

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DeLay Prosecutors Subpoena Abramoff Documents

Texas DA Ronnie Earle, who is prosecuting Tom DeLay, has subpoenaed a multitude of documents in the Abramoff investigation.

In the Texas case, Earle sought records from Abramoff's former employers, legal firms Greenberg Traurig LLP and Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, LLP. He also subpoenaed records from a lawyer for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a former Abramoff client, and from a representative for the Barona Band of Mission Indians, a California tribe.

DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin said Earle "goes where the fish bite." "Ronnie Earle is an opportunist," DeGuerin said. "He issues subpoenas to try to make a connection between his case and the latest scandal, whatever it happens to be. The Abramoff thing is the latest he's doing. It has nothing to do with the case in Texas. Nothing. Zip."

Here's what Earle is seeking:

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Tom Delay Supboenas Grand Jurors for Misconduct Hearing

Was Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle unlawfully present during the second grand jury's deliberations on Tom DeLay? DeLay's defense team thinks so - it has subpoenaed grand jurors to a Dec. 27 hearing on its motion to dismiss for prosecutorial misconduct:

State law prohibits prosecutors from attending grand jury deliberations, but the defense alleges that Earle unlawfully participated in the second grand jury's deliberations and tried to force those grand jurors to indict DeLay. Earle denies the allegations. Grand jury testimony is secret and Earle does not have to release transcripts unless he's ordered to by a court, so the defense has asked Senior Judge Pat Priest to allow the grand jurors to testify.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick Deguerin said he has other evidence and the grand jurors' testimony doesn't make or break the case, but it's very significant.

[Hat tip to Tom at Opinions You Should Have]

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Another Setback for Tom DeLay

The Judge in the Tom DeLay case dealt another setback to DeLay's attempt to get an early trial date, making it more and more unlikely he will be able to reclaim his House leadership position.

In a letter to DeLay's attorneys Wednesday, Senior Judge Pat Priest said he'll be working on other cases and won't be available until Dec. 27 to take up pending motions in DeLay's case stemming from a 2002 campaign finance scheme.

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DeLay Money Laundering Charges Stick

It looks like Tom DeLay will not be able to regain his leadership position in the House in January. The judge in his Texas criminal case today refused to dismiss the money laundering charges against him. While the conspiracy charges were dismissed, DeLay now must stand trial, and it is unlikely the trial can be scheduled before the end of the year.

As to the dismissed charges:

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No Ruling for DeLay for Two Weeks

After a three hour hearing and ordering briefs from counsel, the Judge in the Tom DeLay case said a ruling would take about two weeks. He told DeLay's lawyers, who want an early trial, not to expect it will before January 1.

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Cheney to Speak at DeLay Fundraiser, DeLay heads to Court

On December 5, Dick Cheney is scheduled to speak at a big-time fundraiser for Tom DeLay's 2006 re-election campaign.

Some of the highest-ranking Republicans in Texas, including Gov. Rick Perry and Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, are serving as chairs of the fundraising event.

For $4,200, a donor gets an invitation to a VIP reception, a photograph with Cheney, and recognition at the event. For $2,100, attendees can rub elbows at a "congressional reception" and have their photo taken with DeLay. Regular tickets to the event cost $500.

DeLay returns to court in Houston Tuesday, for a hearing on his motions to dismiss the state indictment against him. Here are the issues he has raised:

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Tom Delay's Venue Hearing Set for Nov. 22

Tom DeLay has a new Democratic judge, Senior Judge Pat Priest. His lawyers have filed a motion to change venue out of Travis County, which they contend is too Democratic to be fair to DeLay, to Fort Bend county, where DeLay resides. The next court date will be November 22.

The brief filed by DeLay's lawyers said the role he played in dividing the county into three congressional districts during the 2003 congressional redistricting battle had made him "unpopular" in Travis County. He called Austin "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas."

The brief also said Austin media coverage of the investigation conducted by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle had been "unrelenting and highly unfavorable."

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DeLay Filing: Fox News Paid Travel Expenses

I'm not sure why this is a big deal. Tom Delay reported on his House report (pdf) that he received $13,998.55 in travel expenses from Fox News for going to Washington to appear on Fox News Sunday after his indictment.

Networks always pay travel expenses for guests they fly in to do shows. It sounds like they chartered a flight for DeLay, which also is not surprising -- why would he want to face the public in airports and and on commercial planes right after his indictment?

Now, was it "officially related travel" as DeLay claims? I checked the transcript, and he did discuss offical House business (albeit marginally) in addition to attacking the Indictment against him.

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Another Judicial Recusal in DeLay Case

by TChris

Goose, meet gander.

Two days after U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay won a fight to get a new judge in his case, prosecutors on Thursday succeeded in ousting the Republican jurist responsible for selecting the new judge. Administrative Judge B.B. Schraub recused himself after District Attorney Ronnie Earle filed a motion asking for his removal from the case.

DeLay succeeded in removing a judge who had donated more than $5,000 to Democratic campaigns. Earle discovered that Judge Schraub has contributed more than $5,000 to Republican candidates, including DeLay's friend, Gov. Rick Perry.

Schraub will ask the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court to name a judge to preside over DeLay's case. You can bet that both sides already know whether the chief justice has been a generous supporter of political campaigns.

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DeGuerin Wins New Judge for Tom DeLay

Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin scored another win for Tom DeLay today. The judge who had donated to Democratic causes has been removed from the case.

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