DeLay Judge Request Hearing Set for Nov. 1

A retired Texas judge was appointed Monday to decide if state district Judge Bob Perkins (search) should continue presiding over former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

C. W. Duncan (search), a former state district judge, will hold a hearing Nov. 1 on DeLay's request that Perkins leave the case because he has contributed money to candidates and Democratic causes that oppose DeLay.

Perkins referred the decision to B.B. Schraub (search), presiding judge of the third administrative judicial region. Schraub on Monday assigned the case to Duncan. The hearing will be in Perkins' Austin courtroom.

In the document asking Perkins to step aside, attorneys listed 34 contributions that Perkins made to Democratic organizations and candidates, including three to Sen. John Kerry (search), D-Mass., when he was running for president in 2004. Others went to the Democratic National Committee, the party's Texas arm and, a liberal interest group.

DeLay and two associates are accused of laundering money through the national Republican Party to Texas legislative candidates, despite a state law prohibiting use of corporate funds to support or defeat state candidates. The lawmaker was forced, under House GOP rules, to step aside as majority leader when he was indicted on felony counts.

Meanwhile Monday, DeLay's attorneys filed another motion seeking to expedite proceedings in the trial, arguing that the case has "affected the regular order and conduct of national legislative business" in Congress.