District Attorney Ronnie Earle on Monday asked a judge to halt Rep. Tom DeLay's trial while prosecutors appeal one of three criminal charges that was dismissed against the former House majority leader.

If senior Judge Pat Priest agrees, an appeal and delayed trial will further hinder DeLay's hopes of regaining the House majority leader post he was forced to relinquish when the charges were first returned

Priest dismissed a conspiracy charge against DeLay last week, but refused to throw out remaining allegations of money-laundering. Prosecutors are standing by the dismissed charge and will argue to the 3rd Court of Appeals that the charge should stand.

Priest has indicated he's not likely to move forward with the case if the state appeals his decision. The appeals court would be required to give precedence to the appeal, Priest said.