Prosecutor Will Appeal Dismissal in DeLay Case
A Texas prosecutor signaled yesterday that he intends to appeal the dismissal of one of the indictments leveled earlier this year against Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) for his alleged role in injecting corporate funds into the 2002 Texas elections. That decision will complicate DeLay's hope of regaining his role as House majority leader.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who secured the indictments of DeLay on charges of conspiracy and money laundering, wrote to Senior Judge Pat Priest that he opposes letting DeLay's trial on related charges go forward while his appeal of the dismissal is heard by a higher court, according to news service reports.
Last week, Priest dismissed an indictment charging DeLay with conspiracy to violate the state election law after concluding that the offense was not covered by the law until 2003, the year after it allegedly occurred. At the same time, Priest let stand another indictment charging DeLay with money laundering and conspiracy to launder money.
News of Earle's letter evoked condemnation from a spokesman for DeLay. The lawmaker was forced to relinquish his post as majority leader because of the indictments and had wanted the trial to proceed swiftly so he could resume his leadership role early next year if he is exonerated.
"The decision to appeal shows that Ronnie Earle is only interested in persecution by prosecution and has nothing but contempt for the court's respect of fairness and due process," said spokesman Kevin Madden.
"The judge's decision to swiftly dismiss Ronnie Earle's baseless and manufactured indictment last week was the correct decision then, and it will be the correct decision when this hopeless attempt to appeal is ultimately rejected."
-- R. Jeffrey Smith