WASHINGTON – A Texas prosecutor tried to persuade Rep. Tom DeLay (search) to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and save his job as majority leader but DeLay refused, the congressman's attorney said Monday.
Dick DeGuerin described such an effort in a letter to the prosecutor in the case, Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle (search). The letter accompanied motions DeGuerin filed in Austin.
DeLay has been indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges in a Texas campaign finance investigation, both felonies. He was obligated to step aside under House Republican rules.
"Before the first indictment you tried to coerce a guilty plea from Tom DeLay for a misdemeanor, stating the alternative was indictment for a felony which would require his stepping down as majority leader of the United States House of Representatives," DeGuerin wrote.
"He turned you down flat so you had him indicted, in spite of advice from others in your office that Tom DeLay had not committed any crime," the lawyer contended.
Earle had no immediate comment.
In a series of filings prior to DeLay's first scheduled court appearance Friday, DeGuerin asked for:
_A speedy trial, because the indictments "have already had adverse collateral consequences including the temporary loss of Tom DeLay's leadership position in the United States Congress and an unknown effect on the upcoming (March 2006) primary election."
_Dismissal of the indictments because, he contended, they failed to allege any act or omission by DeLay and improperly joined two offenses.
_Separation of DeLay's case from that of two political associates, because DeLay wants a speedy trial while the associates are pursuing appeals that would delay their cases.