Judge in DeLay Case Waist on Appeals Court Ruling

12-17-05 - AUSTIN (AP) - A state district judge's decision today once again hindered Representative Tom DeLay's hopes of a speedy resolution to the criminal charges against the former House Majority leader.

Senior Judge Pat Priest said he would not consider separating criminal charges against the Sugar Land Republican until after an appeals court ruling.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle served notice Monday that he intends to ask the 3rd Court of Appeals to reinstate the conspiracy charge Priest threw dismissed earlier this month.

Priest refused to throw out more serious allegations of money laundering.

DeLay's attorneys had hoped Priest would decide to separate the charges in an effort to move forward on the one remaining count that can't be appealed.

But Priest said he would wait to make a decision until the appeals court ruling out of -- quote -- "considerations for judicial economy."

DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden called the appealed charges "baseless."

DeLay denies wrongdoing and has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain his majority leader job before his colleagues call for new leadership elections.

DeLay was forced to step aside as majority leader in late November after he was indicted on state charges of conspiracy to
violate Texas election laws. A second grand jury indicted him on
charges of conspiracy to launder money and money laundering