Judge Upholds Criminal Charges Against DeLay Cronies

A state district judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss felony criminal charges of money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions against two associates of scandal-ridden U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Judge Bob Perkins denied arguments from attorneys for John Colyandro and Jim Ellis that the charges were based on an unconstitutionally vague law and that the indictments were improperly worded.

The attorneys said they would appeal, a move that likely would delay any trial for several months.

The charges stem from the 2002 Texas legislative elections. Colyandro worked for DeLay’s fundraising committee Texans for a Republican Majority, and Ellis worked for Americans for a Republican Majority.

The money laundering charges are based on $190,000 in corporate money that was sent to the Republican National State Elections Committee. That committee then gave the same amount of money in donations to seven Texas House candidates.

Colyandro and Ellis each were indicted on one count of money laundering, and Colyandro faces 13 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution.

DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land, has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing.

Another defendant, Warren RoBold, a Washington consultant who helped raise money for the committees, also has been indicted on charges of accepting illegal corporate contributions. RoBold was not part of Tuesday’s court proceedings.