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DeLay Is Released on $10,000 Bail in Texas After Turning Himself In

October 21, 2005|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) turned himself in Thursday at the sheriff's office and was fingerprinted, photographed and released on $10,000 bail on conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, the former House majority leader arrived at midday, appeared before a judge and was gone in less than 30 minutes, sheriff's Lt. John Martin said.

"Now Ronnie Earle has the mug shot he wanted," DeGuerin said, referring to Ronald E. Earle, the Travis County district attorney who brought the charges. DeLay and his lawyer have accused the district attorney of trying to make headlines for himself.

DeLay is scheduled to make his first court appearance today in Austin. The charges forced him to give up his House leadership post.

Later Thursday, the defense asked Judge Bob Perkins to step aside and for the trial to be moved out of Travis County. Perkins has donated to causes and people opposed to DeLay, and his impartiality might be questioned, the motion said.

The motion listed 34 contributions from Perkins, which included donations to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004;, a liberal advocacy group; and national, state and local Democratic committees.

Earle said he would oppose the motion to move the trial, and criticized the request that the judge step aside.

The motion cited media attention and said that Austin was "one of the last enclaves of the Democratic Party in Texas."

DeLay had been expected to turn himself in in his home county outside Houston, Fort Bend, where reporters waited. DeGuerin said he and DeLay went to the sheriff's office in Houston because it was convenient and because "I wanted to avoid the circus."

Prosecutors allege that DeLay and two associates were involved in funneling to the 2002 campaigns of candidates for the Texas Legislature $190,000 collected from corporations.

State law prohibits donations of corporate money for direct campaign purposes.

DeLay's lawyers have said the money was used to pay administrative expenses for a political committee he founded.

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