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Justice Department Ends Probe into Tom DeLay

Tom Delay, as US Representative of Texas, Harris County Sheriff's bond office photo on black CBS

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

The Justice Department has ended its six-year criminal investigation into former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay without filing any criminal charges against him, according to reports.

The investigation focused on DeLay's ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who served three and a half years in prison for fraud, corruption and conspiracy convictions.

Richard Cullen, one of DeLay's lawyers, said the Justice Department's Office of Public Integrity informed DeLay's legal team early last week that it was ending the investigation, the Associated Press reports.

"Six years is a long time, and I'm sure he wishes it had happened years ago," Cullen reportedly said.

Separately, DeLay was indicted in Texas in 2005 on state charges of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme and money laundering. That case is still pending. His legal problems prompted him to leave Congress, where he served as House Majority Leader from 2003 until 2005.

Update: DeLay told reporters today that he is pleased the investigation has ended, though he didn't understand why it took so long. The case was so weak that he was never even interviewed for it, DeLay said, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer Jill Jackson reports.

The case, he said, was the "price of leadership" and amounted to the "criminalization of politics." Political opponents no longer launch attacks based on policy, DeLay said, but instead try to "drown you" and "dance on your grave."

He added that the House ethics committee, which is currently investigating charges of ethical violations against Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.) and Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), has been politicized. DeLay said it was unfair that the investigation against Rangel took two years.

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