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Texas: lawyers did their job; judge now confused

The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports: Lawyers for former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay tried to get campaign corruption charges against him tossed out of court Tuesday, but the judge said he would give both sides more time to argue about it.

"I had a pretty good idea 24 hours ago what I thought about this case," said Senior Judge Pat Priest. But after listening to lawyers from both sides at a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, Priest said he would probably take about two weeks to rule on defense motions to throw out the charges.

Prosecutors allege that DeLay and two associates illegally funneled tens of thousands of dollars in banned corporate money into the 2002 elections -- contests that helped DeLay and the Republicans strengthen their hold on the Legislature and, ultimately, the U.S. Congress.

DeLay’s large legal team, led by famed Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin, said prosecutors bungled their conspiracy and money laundering indictments against the Republican congressman from Sugar Land. And they want Priest to quash the indictments.

Their chief arguments: that conspiracy to commit electoral violations was not a crime at the time DeLay is alleged to have committed it, and it was impossible in 2002 to launder money with a check. A check for $190,000 lies at the heart of the prosecutors’ case. -- Judge will consider tossing DeLay case out

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