Tuesday, September 27, 2005

DeLay indictment pending?

Update (9/28, 11:39 CT): DeLay indicted on conspiracy charges


Could it be? At long last?

A Texas grand jury's recent interest in conspiracy charges could lead to last-minute criminal indictments -- possibly against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay -- as it wraps up its investigation Wednesday into DeLay's state political organization, according to lawyers with knowledge of the case.

Conspiracy counts against two DeLay associates this month raised concerns with DeLay's lawyers, who fear the chances are greater that the majority leader could be charged with being part of the conspiracy. Before these counts, the investigation was more narrowly focused on the state election code. By expanding the charges to include conspiracy, prosecutors made it possible for the Travis County grand jury to bring charges against DeLay. Otherwise, the grand jury would have lacked jurisdiction under state laws.

The Associated Press spoke to several lawyers familiar with the case, all of whom requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. DeLay, R-Texas, said Tuesday that prosecutors have interviewed him. He has insisted he committed no crimes and says Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, is pursuing the case for political reasons.

The disclosure came as congressional officials said top House Republicans were quietly considering how to respond if an indictment were issued.

Will King Cockroach escape the pointy-toed shoe again? Can he scuttle safely back under the baseboards once more? And if he avoids the jailer, is he significantly damaged enough for the Republicans to finally slip a shiv into his ribs? Does he finally take the hint and quit his leadership post -- or even his seat in Congress?

Or do we just have to wait until Nick Lampson sends him home to Sugar Land?

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets...

Update (9:38 p.m.): Speculation abounds.

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