In blow to DeLay, judge to wait for appeals court ruling
The decision will slow the former House majority leader's push to regain his position.
By Associated Press
Published December 18, 2005
A Texas district judge said Saturday he will not immediately consider separating two criminal charges against Rep. Tom DeLay to allow an early trial, another blow to the former House majority leader's hopes of regaining his post.
Earlier this month, Senior Judge Pat Priest dismissed a conspiracy charge against DeLay but refused to throw out more serious allegations of money laundering. Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle served notice Monday that he intends to ask an appeals court to reinstate the conspiracy charge.
DeLay's attorneys had hoped Priest would separate the charges in an effort to move forward on the money laundering charge while waiting for the appeals court decision.
DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain his majority leader job before his colleagues reconvene in late January and call for new leadership elections.
Priest rejected the defense bid Saturday, saying he would not act until after the 3rd Court of Appeals of Texas rules in the case.
A spokesman for DeLay called the appealed charges "baseless."
"We're confident that the appeals court will render a decision based on the facts and the law that agrees with this sentiment," spokesman Kevin Madden said.
Priest also canceled a Dec. 27 hearing at which he was expected to consider the defense team's allegations of misconduct against prosecutors who brought the charges.
DeLay was forced to step aside as majority leader in late November after he was indicted on state charges of conspiracy to violate Texas election laws. A second grand jury indicted him on charges of conspiracy to launder money and money laundering charges.
DeLay, 58, and two GOP fundraisers are accused of illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate donations to 2002 candidates for the state Legislature. Under Texas law, corporate money cannot be directly used for political campaigns, only administrative purposes.
Frist's charity paid $450,000 to political consultants
WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful's nonprofit.
The returns for World of Hope Inc., obtained by the Associated Press, also show the charity raised the lion's share of its $4.4-million from just 18 sources. They gave between $97,950 and $267,735 each to help fund Frist's efforts to fight AIDS.
The tax forms, filed nine months after they were first due, do not identify the 18 major donors by name.
Frist's lawyer, Alex Vogel, said he would not release their names because tax law does not require their public disclosure. Frist's office provided a list of 96 donors who were supportive of the charity, but did not say what each contributed.
World of Hope gave $3-million it raised to charitable AIDS causes, such as Africare and the Rev. Franklin Graham's Samaritan Purse, as well as the Rev. Luis Cortes' Esperanza USA.
The rest of the money went to overhead. That included $456,125 in consulting fees to two firms run by Frist's longtime political fundraiser, Linus Catignani. One is jointly run by Linda Bond, the wife of Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.
The charity also hired the law firm of Vogel's wife, Jill Holtzman Vogel, and Frist's Tennessee accountant, Deborah Kolarich.
Frist is listed as the charity's president and his wife was listed as secretary. Neither was compensated.