AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Questions and answers in the political-money legal case against Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas. He had to give up his post as House majority leader while he contests felony charges in Texas.

Q: What is DeLay accused of?

A: DeLay has been indicted by two separate grand juries on charges of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws, conspiracy to launder money and money laundering. He and two political associates are accused of giving $190,000 in corporate money to the Republican Party in Washington and having an equivalent amount routed back to several Texas candidates. The grand juries say it was a money laundering scheme to circumvent Texas’ ban on corporate money in elections.

What does DeLay say about the charges?

DeLay contends that the prosecutor in the case is politically motivated and that the charges are unfounded. After his first court appearance, he declared, “I will absolutely be exonerated.”

What is next in the case?

DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, wants the judge on the case, Bob Perkins in Austin, to step aside. Perkins has asked a judge to decide whether the case should be shifted. Once that decision is made, DeGuerin will ask for decisions on his request for a speedy trial, for the charges to be dismissed and for prosecutor Ronnie Earle to answer questions about his dealings with the grand jury.

Why is Perkins being asked to step aside?

A: Perkins has made 34 contributions to Democratic candidates and groups, including, which opposes DeLay. DeGuerin also wants the case moved out of Travis County, the liberal center of Texas.

Q: How does Earle respond?

A: Earle says DeLay is shopping for a friendly judge and that removing Perkins from the case would mean a judge, for example, who contributes to Crime Stoppers could not hear a burglary case.

Q: What is the status of the investigation?

A: Earle has said the investigation is continuing. A third grand jury was impaneled in late September.

Q: Why was DeLay smiling so much in his mug shot?

A: A disheveled and angry DeLay would have been ideal fodder for attack ads by political opponents. DeLay also wanted to reflect his confidence that he is innocent.

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