- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Attorneys for Rep. Tom DeLay yesterday issued a subpoena for the Democratic district attorney who indicted the powerful Texas Republican.

The subpoena for Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, filed in Austin, asked that the prosecutor and two of his assistants appear in court to explain their conduct.

The attorneys previously had filed a motion asking for dismissal of the conspiracy and money-laundering charges against Mr. DeLay, who stepped aside as House majority leader because of the indictment.

DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin also asked that grand jurors be released from their secrecy oath so they could answer questions about the prosecutor’s conduct.

Mr. Earle had no immediate comment on the subpoena.

Mr. DeGuerin wants Mr. Earle to answer 12 questions about conversations he had with grand jurors, including whether the prosecutor became angry when a grand jury decided against an indictment of Mr. DeLay and why the decision was not released publicly.

He also wants to know the details of Mr. Earle’s conversation with William Gibson, foreman of a grand jury that indicted Mr. DeLay on conspiracy charges and whose term since has ended.

“If you did nothing improper, you should not be concerned about answering these questions,” Mr. DeGuerin said in his letter to Mr. Earle.

Mr. Earle went to three grand juries with his investigation into whether Mr. DeLay violated Texas law by funneling corporate money to Texas legislative candidates.

The first grand jury indicted Mr. DeLay on conspiracy charges, the second failed to indict and the third indicted him on an accusation of money laundering. Mr. DeLay has said he is innocent of wrongdoing.

Mr. DeLay has accused Mr. Earle of pursuing the case against him for political reasons. Mr. Earle has denied any political motives.

In a motion filed last week, the defense team said that from Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, Mr. Earle and his staff “unlawfully participated in grand jury deliberations and attempted to browbeat and coerce” the grand jury that refused to indict Mr. DeLay.

The motion said Mr. Earle then attempted to cover up and delay public disclosure of the refusal, and also “incited” the foreman of the first grand jury to violate grand-jury secrecy by talking publicly about the case — in an effort to influence grand jurors still sitting.

The attorneys said Mr. Earle then spoke about the case with members of the first grand jury, whose work was finished, to get their opinion of what they might have done if they had known their conspiracy indictment was flawed — as defense attorneys said.

Mr. Earle then submitted the grand jury opinions to the third grand jury to persuade it to hand down the money-laundering indictment, the defense team said.



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