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Texas: court of criminal appeals hears arguments in DeLay conspiracy case

The Austin American-Statesman reports: Travis County prosecutors Wednesday urged the state's highest criminal appellate court to re-instate criminal conspiracy charges against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Lawyers for DeLay and two associates countered that lower courts were correct in dismissing the indictment because conspiracy did not apply to the 2002 election laws that DeLay is accused of violating.

They also raised the specter that if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rules against their clients it could raise the question whether the defendants had "fair notice" that they were committing a crime. ...

The issue before criminal appeals court Wednesday was whether DeLay and his associates, who had hands-on responsibility for the committee, can be charged with conspiring to violate that ban against corporate donations.

At the heart of the issue is whether criminal conspiracy applies to felonies listed in laws outside the penal code. -- Travis County seeks to reinstate conspiracy charge for DeLay

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