Congressman Tom DeLay appeared in court in Austin Tuesday for the first time with his co-defendants in a conspiracy and money-laundering case.
That's as the Sugar Land Republican's legal team tried to persuade a judge to drop the conspiracy charges against him without a trial.
The former U.S. House majority leader wants the charges dismissed
or resolved in his favor by January or he risks losing his leadership post for good. Under House rules, he was forced to give up his post after he was charged in September with a felony.
DeLay declined to talk to reporters as he entered the courtroom with his wife. He and Republican fund-raisers John Colyandro and Jim Ellis are accused of operating a 2002 campaign finance scheme.
That funneled corporate money to Texas House candidates in violation of state law.
DeLay and his co-defendants say they've done nothing illegal.
The hearing is DeLay's first before Senior Judge Pat Priest. He
was chosen after DeLay's attorneys got the first judge removed
because of his active support for Democratic candidates and causes.