Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Rejects DeLay Associates' Appeal

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In a 9 – 0 decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the Texas election law on political contributions.

According to the Austin American Statesman, DeLay's associates – John Colyandro and Jim Ellis – had challenged the law as an unconstitutional infringement on First Amendment rights.

In 2002, the Public Integrity Section of the Travis County District charged Colyandro – working on behalf of Texans for a Republican Majority PAC – with accepting political contributions from corporations.

Colyandro and Ellis also were charged with money laundering by transferring $190,000 in corporate contributions to the Republican National Committee by a check, with a similar amount later returned to the state organization.

The men asked the trial court to dismiss the charges, arguing the money-laundering statute was unconstitutionally vague if it were interpreted to apply to transactions involving something other than cash, including checks.

Texans for Public Justice chimed in, releasing the following e-mail moments after the decision was made.

Texas' highest criminal court today unanimously rejected arguments by co-indicted associates of Tom DeLay that the state money laundering statutes do not apply to checks.  DeLay aides John Colyandro and Jim Ellis were seeking to dismiss felony money-laundering indictments.  A ruling in their favor likely would have resulted in the dismissal of Tom DeLay's indictment as well. Instead, the trial court will now proceed with the case against all three defendants.

Download the court's ruling.

For the national readers, this was one of the last remaining roadblocks in the DeLay trials. This case is now nearly a decade old, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

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