Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself Thursday in at the Harris County sheriff's bonding office, where he was photographed, fingerprinted and released on bond on state conspiracy and money laundering charges.
"He posted $10,000 bond and they have left the bonding office," Lt. John Martin with the sheriff's department said.
DeLay, accompanied by his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, showed up around noon, appeared before a judge and was gone in less than 30 minutes, Martin said.
The appearance came a day after a state court issued an arrest warrant for DeLay and set an initial bail, a routine step before the Texas Republican's first court appearance Friday in Austin.
He had been expected to appear for booking in Bend County, but went to Houston instead. Under Texas law he could check in anywhere in the state
DeLay stepped down as majority leader — at least temporarily — under a Republican rule requiring him to relinquish the post if charged with a felony.
Two grand juries have charged DeLay and two political associates in an alleged scheme to violate state election law, by funneling corporate donations to candidates for the Texas Legislature. State law prohibits use of corporate donations to finance state campaigns, although the money can be used for administrative expenses.
The indictments charge that a DeLay-founded Texas political committee sent corporate donations to the Republican National Committee in Washington, and the national party sent funds back to the state for 2002 campaigns.
DeLay has denied wrongdoing and accused Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle — a Democrat — of having partisan motives. Earle has denied the accusation.
Earle did not ask for the arrest warrant for DeLay, but approved the court's request, his office said Wednesday.
DeLay's Republican fundraising in 2002 had major political consequences, allowing the GOP to take control of the Texas Legislature. The Legislature then redrew congressional boundaries according to a DeLay-inspired plan, took command of the state's U.S. House delegation and helped the GOP retain its House majority.
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