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Texas: DeLay can't get a quick appeal hearing

AP reports: Representative Tom DeLay's latest effort at a speedy resolution of the criminal case against him was thwarted here Thursday by a state appeals court, which denied his request that the case be sent back to a lower court for an expedited trial.

Mr. DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said he would appeal further, to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal court.

As majority leader, Mr. DeLay was the second-ranking Republican in the House before he was forced by party rules to step aside this fall as a result of his indictment. He has been seeking a quick outcome of the case in hopes that an acquittal will enable him to regain his post before his colleagues call for new leadership elections in the next session of Congress.

But Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor who brought the money laundering and conspiracy charges against Mr. DeLay and two of his associates, has appealed a dismissal of the conspiracy count, and the trial judge has said he will not move forward with the case until that matter is settled.

So Mr. DeLay asked the Third Court of Appeals to intervene and allow him to be tried quickly on the money laundering charge. If he were to be acquitted of that charge, the conspiracy count could be moot.

But on Thursday the appeals court turned aside his request. Mr. DeGuerin said the rebuff meant that the court would not rule on the prosecution's appeal until February at the earliest. He said he planned to ask the Court of Criminal Appeals to dismiss the charges or, alternatively, send the case back to the trial court for a speedy resolution. -- Texas Appeals Court Rebuffs DeLay's Bid for Expedited Trial - New York Times

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