A Texas court agreed today that a Democratic judge should be removed from Representative Tom Delay’s criminal trial because of the judge’s contributions to Democratic candidates and causes.
The decision came this afternoon after several hours of testimony in which Mr. Delay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said that the contributions by the judge in the case, Bob Perkins of the 331st Judicial Criminal District Court, would create questions “in the minds of reasonable people” that he could not rule impartially. Mr. Delay is charged with money laundering and conspiracy, and he was forced to step down as the Republican majority leader in the United States House of Representatives.
The judge in today’s hearing, C.W. Duncan, did not immediately indicate who would replace Judge Perkins in the criminal trial nor when the trial would get started. Judge Perkins had declined to recuse himself from the case.
During the hearing, Mr. DeGuerin said he was not accusing the judge of any wrongdoing for making 34 contributions to Democratic and liberal groups since 2000. Texas law says that because judges are elected in that state, they can contribute to candidates and political parties.