An Austin judge dismissed a conspiracy charge against Rep. Tom DeLay, but ordered the embattled Republican to stand trial on more serious money-laundering allegations. Prosecutor Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, says DeLay and two others conspired in 2002 to funnel $190,000 in corporate donations through Republican political action committees to GOP candidates running for the Texas House, a violation of state election and money-laundering laws. DeLay’s office released a statement saying that the dismissal of one charge—that DeLay conspired to break election laws—showed that the case was “baseless and politically motivated.” But the split decision killed DeLay’s hopes of quickly regaining his position as House majority leader.
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