For DeLay, half a break isn't much of a break at all

By Tim Grieve

Published December 5, 2005 11:19PM (EST)

Just in time for tonight's Tom DeLay-Dick Cheney fundraiser, a judge in Texas had dismissed one of the criminal charges against the former House majority leader but refused to throw out another. DeLay and his lawyers hoped to get all the charges against him dismissed or, failing that, a promise from Judge Pat Priest to hold a trial in the case almost immediately. The hope: DeLay wins at trial and gets his job back pronto.

Priest didn't play along. At last month's hearing on the issue, Priest indicated that, if the case wasn't dismissed, it wouldn't go to trial until next year. With today's ruling, Priest removed the if: The case isn't going away, and DeLay remains under indictment. Pursuant to House rules, that means he can't reclaim his seat as majority leader.

So far as we know, tonight's fundraiser will go on as scheduled.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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