Monday, January 09, 2006
Trial schedule up in the air
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF - January 09, 2006
The state's highest criminal court refused Monday to intervene in the prosecution of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, below left, on money-laundering charges.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied DeLay's motions without comment. Without DeLay trying to reclaim the leadership post before Congress convenes Jan. 31, DeLay's trial is likely to be postponed for weeks, if not months.
However, defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said his client, facing re-election opponents in the March primary and the November general election, would prefer to be tried before the spring GOP primary. "We'd like to have it resolved by then," he said.
DeLay and his co-defendants, John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, still have appeals pending at the Texas Third Court of Appeals.
Barring outright dismissal of the charges by that court, however, a trial could be postponed until later this year because of the lawyers' schedules and several outstanding pretrial fights, including whether the defendants would be tried in Travis County or some other Texas community.
Prosecutor Ronnie Earle, in the appellate briefs, said DeLay was asking for special treatment when he demanded a trial in January.
The state is appealing the dismissal of a related indictment against DeLay. Earle said the state has a right to have its appeal heard before prosecutors decide which charge to try the Sugar Land Republican on.
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Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com
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