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Lawyers for two codefendants distance themselves from DeLay

AUSTIN, Texas -- Lawyers for two codefendants of US Representative Tom DeLay made it clear yesterday they're not in the same rush to get to trial as the former House majority leader and they want to distance themselves in other ways as well.

The defense team for Jim Ellis and John Colyandro is hoping to persuade appeals courts to dismiss the charges. DeLay has said he wants to get to trial as quickly as possible.

Ellis and Colyandro were released Friday on $10,000 personal bonds on the two most recent charges against them stemming from allegations of campaign-finance wrongdoing in 2002 Texas legislative races.

''Mr. DeLay can go to trial when he wishes to without us. And we'll pursue the process that we've invoked and hopefully get a ruling from the appellate court that brings all this to an end," said J.D. Pauerstein, who represents Ellis.

State District Judge Bob Perkins agreed yesterday to wait for rulings from an appeals court on motions to dismiss charges before setting a trial date.

DeLay, Ellis, and Colyandro all are awaiting trial in a case in which prosecutors allege there was a scheme to circumvent Texas's ban on using corporate money for state legislative campaigns.

Pauerstein and Joe Turner, who represents Colyandro, also said they had no part in television ads that a national conservative organization began running this week criticizing the prosecution of DeLay. Turner said the ads were inappropriate and should be stopped.

''If there was money out there for those kind of ads, we'd ask that it be given to the defense fund and not for some attack ads," Turner said. ''We don't think that has any place over here."

The Washington, D.C.-based Free Enterprise Fund, acting in support of DeLay, sponsored the ads that compared District Attorney Ronnie Earle to an attack dog.

Also Friday, defense lawyers asked Perkins to rule on their motion seeking proof of an alleged document detailing the names of Texas legislative candidates who were to receive contributions from the Republican National Committee. Defense lawyers questioned whether the document exists.

Earle left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

Perkins said he would consider the motion at a Nov. 8 hearing.

Ellis and Colyandro were indicted last year on a money laundering charge. Then on Sept. 28 they were indicted on a charge of conspiracy to violate the election code, and on Oct. 3 on the charge of conspiracy to launder money.

On Oct. 3 they also were indicted on a money laundering charge that superseded last year's version.

The hearing came a day after it was learned that DeLay was being forced to turn over home and campaign phone records from the period he is charged with conspiring to launder illegal corporate donations.

A later auto purchase also is being investigated.

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