DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe

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A grand jury in Austin has indicted US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and two political associates on a charge of criminal conspiracy.

The Associated Press reports the indictment stems from a plan
DeLay backed to help Republicans win control of the Texas House in
2002 elections.

But a DeLay spokesman has dismissed the charge as politically
motivated by Travis County District attorney Ronnie Earle, who's a

DeLay, who's a Republican from Sugar Land, is being forced to temporarily relinquish his leadership post. He'll remain in Congress.

The indictment also names John Colyandro, who's a former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan says President Bush
still considers DeLay a friend and effective leader in Congress.

The indictment accuses DeLay of a conspiracy to "knowingly make a political contribution" in violation of Texas law outlawing corporate contributions.

Criminal conspiracy is a state felony punishable by six months to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.