WASHINGTON – Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search) will return to court next Tuesday for a hearing on whether the judge assigned to handle his trial should be removed.
Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney, said the Texas Republican would attend the hearing in Austin because "he wants to be involved in every facet (of the case) particularly when something is very important."
Defendants are required to appear at hearings unless a waiver is signed. No waiver was sought.
DeLay stepped aside as the No. 2 GOP leader in the House after he was indicted Sept. 28 on conspiracy charges arising out of an investigation into campaign fundraising in 2002 election races for the Texas state Legislature (search). He was indicted again five days later on money-laundering charges.
He and two associates are accused of funneling corporate money to Texas legislative campaigns in violation of state law prohibiting use of these donations for electing or defeating state candidates.
DeLay made his first court appearance last Friday, but the hearing lasted only a few minutes after his attorney requested that the presiding judge, Bob Perkins, recuse himself from the case.
DeLay's legal team said Perkins has made 34 political contributions to Democrats and their allies. Those contributions include some to MoveOn.org (search), a liberal advocacy group that has waged a campaign against DeLay.
Perkins asked another judge to decide whether he should be removed from the case. A retired senior judge, C.W. "Bud" Duncan, was assigned to hear the issue.
Cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom next week. A television camera and one newspaper photographer were allowed in DeLay's first hearing, which was fed live to television stations.
House votes are scheduled for Tuesday evening and DeLay is expected to be back in Washington in time for those, said spokesman Kevin Madden.