WASHINGTON – The legal battle between Rep. Tom DeLay (search) and a Texas district attorney continued on Tuesday as DeLay's attorneys subpoenaed the prosecutor to try to show that he acted improperly with grand jurors.
The filings made in Austin late in the day accuse Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle (search) of misconduct and call for him and two of his assistants to appear in court to explain their conduct.
DeLay stepped down from his House leadership post last month after being indicted on conspiracy charges by Earle. Some legal experts have called the initial indictment against the former House majority leader flawed.
DeLay has denied any wrongdoing.
The first indictment alleged that DeLay conspired with political associates to violate Texas election laws in 2002.
DeLay’s attorney Dick DeGuerin (search) said his client had been charged with something that wasn’t a crime at the time the action was taken. Earle used the same evidence again after a grand jury would not hand down an indictment. Then the Texas district attorney tried to get an indictment with a third grand jury. This time, it worked and a new indictment was handed down accusing DeLay of money laundering.
Both indictments focus on an alleged scheme to move money contributed by corporate donors to a political action committee founded by DeLay to the Republican National Committee, which then turned around and gave the money to Texas Republican state legislative candidates.
The filings ask Earle to submit to a deposition, answer 12 specific questions and release details of grand jury proceedings. The 16 pages of legal motions are full of accusations that Earle tried to coerce and browbeat grand juries into returning the indictments he sought.
Some of the questions ask Earle specifics about his conduct, including whether he became visibly angry with jurors in an attempt to persuade them to change their opinion. The document asks that the indictments against DeLay be set aside.
DeLay's attorneys also want to know the details of Earle's conversation with William Gibson, foreman of a grand jury that indicted DeLay on conspiracy charges and whose term has since ended.
"If you did nothing improper, you should not be concerned about answering these questions," DeGuerin said in his letter to Earle.
DeGuerin is asking for all documents, notes, telephone records and other relevant materials from Earle's staff.
"I am determined to put on record the steps taken by you and your staff to obtain a replacement indictment against my client, Tom DeLay," DeGuerin said in a letter to the prosecutor.
A judge will likely have to order Earle to sit for questioning. Earle did not release comment.
Meanwhile, another member of the Earle family stepped into the media spotlight on Tuesday. Jason Earle (search), a Democrat and Earle’s son, announced in Austin that he is running for state representative. Texas Republicans have vowed to raise a lot of money to fund the campaign of his opponent.
Earle’s daughter Elizabeth also has her hand in the political arena as a local judge in Texas. Speculators are suggesting Elizabeth Earle might run for her father's district attorney job when Ronnie Earle is ready to step down.
Asked Tuesday about the strength of his case against DeLay, Earle would not comment, saying “We’re very proud of our son. And we’ll talk about that later.”
After reviewing the documents filed by DeGuerin, the Travis County District Attorney's Office released a statement saying they could not speak on the matter "because of laws protecting grand jury secrecy," but the DA's office "fully expect(s) to prevail in this matter."
FOX News' Brian Wilson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.