Texas officials order DeLay to surrender

first_imgAUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A state court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Rep. Tom DeLay, requiring him to appear in Texas for booking on state conspiracy and money laundering charges. The court set an initial $10,000 bail as a routine step before the Texas Republican’s first court appearance Friday. DeLay, R-Texas, could be fingerprinted and photographed, although his lawyers had hoped to avoid this step. Fort Bend County Chief Deputy Craig Brady said arrangements were being made to bring DeLay to the sheriff’s office in his home county sometime Thursday for booking and fingerprinting. The process was expected to take 45 minutes to an hour. Brady said a specific time has not been set, but Sheriff Milton Wright was contacted Wednesday by DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin. DeLay’s court appearance will be in Austin. The warrant is “a matter of routine and bond will be posted,” DeGuerin said. DeLay has stepped down as U.S. House 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. Associated Press writer Pam Easton in Richmond, Texas, contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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