Image: Tom DeLay
David J. Phillip  /  AP file
Rep. Tom DeLay, announces Saturday in Sugar Land, Texas, that he would not try to remain House majority leader.
updated 1/9/2006 1:33:57 PM ET 2006-01-09T18:33:57

The state’s highest criminal court on Monday denied Rep. Tom DeLay’s request that the money laundering charges against him be dismissed or sent back to a lower court for an immediate trial.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the requests with no written order two days after he announced he was stepping down as House majority leader. DeLay had been forced to temporarily relinquish the Republican leadership post after he was indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges in September.

DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, had been trying to rush to trial in Texas in hopes of clearing his name and regaining the position.

The House is expected to hold leadership elections when lawmakers return to the Capitol the week of Jan. 31.

DeLay’s 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.

A spokesman for Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle had no immediate comment.

The trial court judge in December dismissed a conspiracy charge against DeLay but refused to throw out more serious allegations of money laundering. Prosecutors appealed that decision, and the judge decided not to proceed with the case until the appeal is resolved. It is still being considered by the 3rd Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors allege DeLay and two co-conspirators funneled $190,000 in corporate contributions through the Texas political committee and an arm of the National Republican Committee to seven GOP state legislative candidates.

They accuse DeLay and his two associates of trying to circumvent Texas’ law prohibiting spending corporate money on campaigns, except for administrative expenses.

After DeLay withdrew permanently from the majority leader job, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio announced Sunday he is seeking the post. Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the acting majority leader, campaigned for the job as well.

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