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Arrest warrant for DeLay is issued

AUSTIN, Texas -- A state court issued an arrest warrant yesterday for Representative Tom DeLay, requiring him to appear in Texas for booking on state conspiracy and money laundering charges.

The court set an initial $10,000 bail as a routine step before the Texas Republican's first court appearance tomorrow.

DeLay, Republican of Texas, could be fingerprinted and photographed, although his lawyers had hoped to avoid this step. DeLay probably will surrender in his home county of Fort Bend, near Houston, but he could go to any law enforcement office in Texas. His court appearance will be in Austin.

The warrant, known as a capias, is ''a matter of routine and bond will be posted," said DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.

DeLay has stepped down as majority leader of the US House of Representative -- at least temporarily -- under a Republican rule requiring him to relinquish the post if charged with a felony.

Two grand juries have indicted DeLay and two political associates on charges that they violated state election law, by funneling corporate donations to candidates for the Texas Legislature. State law prohibits use of corporate donations to finance state campaigns, although the money can be used for administrative expenses.

The indictments charge that a Texas political committee founded by DeLay sent corporate donations to the Republican National Committee in Washington, and the national party sent funds back to the state for 2002 campaigns.

DeLay has denied wrongdoing and accused Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, of having partisan motives

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