Full speed ahead

DeLay lawyer Dick DeGuerin told the Houston Chronicle that he and his client want the trial to get underway as soon as possible.

"We've got to go forward — get to trial as soon as possible," DeGuerin said. "Tom DeLay has a primary in March. He has a leadership position. And in politics, nature abhors a vacuum."

The lawyer's goal is to have the charges dismissed or get an acquittal before Congressional Republicans can elect a new leader when Congress returns from winter recess in January.

DeLay has been allowed to continue participating in some leadership meetings, but seems to be losing some support among fellow Republicans - but only those who don't fear retribution if he returns to power.

"Working in DeLay's favor is the fact that his fellow Republicans know that he could be exonerated and reward those who supported him, Austin lobbyist Bill Miller said. If DeLay 'succeeds in beating these charges, there will be a reckoning for people on the Republican side, especially for those who did not step up and help him,' Miller said."