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DeLay trial will not be moved

Aug. 25, 2010 at 11:57 PM   |   Comments

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AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, will be tried on money laundering charges in Austin, a Texas judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling came as part of pretrial hearings during which DeLay argued he should be tried in Houston, near his home, because the case involves election matters, the Austin American-Statesman reported. His attorney, Dick DeGuerin also argued DeLay could not get a fair trial in Travis County.

"I know there's negative feeling about Tom DeLay -- and it's strong," Senior District Judge Pat Priest said, adding DeLay could get a fair trial nonetheless.

DeLay said he was "very disappointed" by the ruling, the newspaper reported.

"I hope I can get a fair trial here," he said. "We'll find out."

Priest struck down several defense motions to have the case dropped and then set a trial date of Oct. 26.

DeLay is charged with laundering $190,000 of corporate funds into campaign donations during the 2002 election. He has denied the charge.

Prosecutors argued DeLay was charged under the criminal code, so they could try him in Travis County where he was indicted.

Priest said DeLay would be tried before his co-defendants, former aides Jim Ellis and John Colyandro. DeLay was indicted in 2005 and forced to resign as House speaker. He eventually decided not to return to Congress.

"There is such a thing as a speedy trial," Priest said. "Five years later, it's high time he got it."

DeLay, who has maintained the charges against him were politically motivated, said he was pleased, the American-Statesman said.

"I've been asking for a trial now for five years," DeLay said. "Finally, I'm getting a trial."

Prosecutors said they would pursue charges of making unlawful donations against Ellis and Colyandro.

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