Nation & World

Judge withdraws from former Senate Majority Leader's case at prosecutor's request

Republican in charge of selecting new judge removed

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Nov. 4, 2005 


AUSTIN, Texas -- Two days after Rep. Tom DeLay won a fight to get a new judge in his case, prosecutors Thursday succeeded in ousting the Republican responsible for selecting the new judge.

Administrative Judge B.B. Schraub withdrew after District Attorney Ronnie Earle filed a request to have him removed.

Schraub said he will ask the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court -- a Republican -- to name a judge to preside over DeLay's conspiracy and money laundering trial.

DeLay is charged with illegally funneling corporate campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002. The Texas Republican was forced to step down as House majority leader after being indicted.

On Tuesday, District Judge Bob Perkins, a Democrat, was removed from DeLay's case at the congressman's request because of his contributions to Democrats.

The district attorney argued Schraub was objectionable, too, because he has contributed to GOP candidates including Gov. Rick Perry, a DeLay ally. Earle said the contributions called into question Schraub's ability to be impartial.

DeLay's contributions to Texas Republicans helped the GOP win control of the Texas House in 2002. Then, in a series of special sessions called by Perry, the GOP pushed through a congressional redistricting plan crafted by Delay to send more Republicans to Congress in 2004.

In his request for Schraub's removal, Earle said Schraub's financial support of Perry reveals that the judge "agrees in principle with Perry's agenda regarding Tom DeLay's redistricting map."

Prosecutors also suggested that Schraub appears politically indebted to Perry, who appointed him as administrative judge and can reappoint him in January.

Earle wrote that prosecutors believe Schraub to be "completely fair and impartial, with a sterling reputation of honesty and integrity."

"However, as the recusal of Judge Perkins reflected, such is unfortunately no longer the standard in our state for the judiciary," the district attorney said.

Schraub, 76, has also contributed to George W. Bush's campaigns for governor and president. He has more than 40 years of judicial experience, the last 15 as administrative judge.


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