More than four months after agreeing to hear an appeal from the Travis County DA's office over the dismissal of a conspiracy charge against Tom DeLay, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will actually hear arguments in the case today.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is set to hear arguments Wednesday on the conspiracy charge -- part of the criminal case that helped drive DeLay from office.
Prosecutors want the charge reinstated, but attorneys for DeLay and two co-defendants contend a lower appellate court correctly ruled that the law was not in effect when the alleged conspiracy occurred in 2002.
DeLay's trial on remaining felony conspiracy and money laundering charges must wait until the state's highest criminal court rules, which could be weeks or months after Wednesday's hearing.
In a brief filed with the court, prosecutors reject defense lawyers' contention that the state's conspiracy law didn't apply to the Texas Election Code until 2003. They outlined a series of steps in legislative history to back up their argument.
"The plain language ... is clear and unambiguous: the offense of criminal conspiracy applies to all felony offenses defined by Texas law, including the offense of unlawfully making a corporate political contribution," prosecutors wrote.
But [DeLay's defense attorney Dick] DeGuerin disputed that. He also said the law is clear.
"There was no conspiracy to violate the election code on the books at the time that the conduct took place. There's no such crime, in other words," DeGuerin said.