DeLay Indictment

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Embattled Houston-area Congressman Tom DeLay moves a step closer to resolving felony charges against him this week.

But an appeal court hearing scheduled for Austin this week may remind voters about his legal troubles at a time when he's trying to win re-election to Congress.

Prosecutors Wednesday will try to persuade the Third Court of Appeals to restore conspiracy and money laundering charges that cost DeLay his post as House majority leader last fall. DeLay also has one other money laundering count against him.

The charges result from a Travis County investigation of campaign financing.

State District Judge Pat Priest dismissed the conspiracy part of the charges, saying the conspiracy law DeLay allegedly violated didn't exist at the time of the alleged offenses. Prosecutors say it did. Both sides will argue their cases before the court Wednesday. DeLay won't attend.

DeLay faces former Congressman Nick Lampson in the November general election. It's the first time in years that the Sugar Land Democrat has faced a serious contender since voters.