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DeLay Could Face Conspiracy Charge

The state's highest criminal appeals court said Wednesday it would consider reinstating a conspiracy charge against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, further delaying his felony money laundering trial.

A Travis County grand jury indicted DeLay and two political consultants last year on charges stemming from Republican fundraising during the 2002 legislative races.

A state district court judge later threw out one of two conspiracy charges. Prosecutors asked the appeals court to reinstate the dropped charge, and the court said Wednesday that it would consider that request.

Judge Pat Priest said he would proceed with DeLay's trial when the appeals process has ended.

Prosecutors accuse DeLay and the two consultants of violating state law by funneling $190,000 in illegal corporate money to the Republican National Committee, which then donated the same amount to Texas candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can't be directly used for political campaigns.

DeLay and associates Jim Ellis and John Colyandro deny the transaction was illegal.

The dispute over the dismissed charge centers on whether the conspiracy statute applied to the state's election code in 2002. DeLay was accused of conspiring to violate the election code, but his attorneys say that transaction was not illegal at the time.

The other conspiracy count DeLay faces accuses him of conspiring to launder money.

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