Poor Tom. Even the all-Republican Texas Court of Criminal Appeals doesn't love him.
Texas' highest criminal court today rejected U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's request to throw out criminal indictments against him or order an immediate trial on a charge of money laundering.
DeLay originally was indicted in September on charges of conspiring to violate the state election code. Under House Republican caucus rules, he had to immediately step aside as majority leader.
He was reindicted in October on charges of conspiring to violate the election code, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.
Senior District Judge Pat Priest in December threw out the charges involving the election code, but he let stand the money laundering charges.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle then appealed Priest's ruling to the Third Court of Appeals, and Priest stayed further proceedings in DeLay's criminal case until that appeal was decided.
DeLay's lawyers asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to intercede, accusing Earle of appealing Priest's ruling just to keep DeLay from coming to trial in January. Exoneration at a January trial had been considered to be his best shot at regaining the leadership position.
Or maybe not. Here's a little food for thought.
DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, had been trying to rush to trial in Texas in hopes of clearing his name and regaining the [House Majority Leader] position. His attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said they will continue to push for a quick trial because DeLay faces opposition in the March Republican primary.
"We'd like to get it over with before then, but it's not as crucial as it would have been if he were still in the running for his leadership post," DeGuerin said.
But DeLay's decision to abandon the powerful position in no way lessens his desire to clear his name, DeGuerin said.
"Tom DeLay's not going to plead guilty to anything, even spitting on the sidewalk," he said.