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Texas: criminal appeals court affirms dismissal of conspiracy charge against DeLay

AP reports: Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's criminal case now appears to hinge on two remaining money laundering charges after Texas' highest criminal court refused Wednesday to reinstate a dropped conspiracy charge.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected arguments from Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle that it had grounds to indict DeLay and two co-defendants on a charge of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws in 2002 state legislative elections.

A state district judge threw out that charge after defense lawyers argued that the law DeLay is accused of violating in 2002 wasn't written until 2003.

A regional appeals court upheld the judge's decision. Prosecutors appealed to the state's highest criminal appeals court, a Republican-controlled panel that ruled 5-4 in favor of DeLay and co-defendants John Colyandro and Jim Ellis.

Two charges money laundering and conspiring to launder money remain against the former Republican congressman and the two consultants. Lawyers are arguing about those charges in an appeals court, and no trial date has been set. -- State high court refuses to reinstate DeLay conspiracy charge

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