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Jury begins deliberating Tom DeLay money-laundering case

By the CNN Wire Staff
Texas Republican Tom DeLay is seen in 2005, when he was still U.S. House majority leader.
Texas Republican Tom DeLay is seen in 2005, when he was still U.S. House majority leader.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Closing arguments were held Monday
  • Prosecutors allege Tom DeLay illegally sent money to help legislative candidates
  • DeLay has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy
  • The defense calls 4 witnesses; the prosecution calls more than 30
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(CNN) -- Closing arguments were held Monday in the trial of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is charged with illegally funneling corporate money to help elect GOP candidates to the Texas legislature.

The case is now in the hands of the jury, according to Travis County District Clerk Director Cindy Guebara.

The Republican was indicted in 2005 on charges that he illegally sent $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee to help elect GOP Texas legislative candidates in 2002.

DeLay, who resigned in 2006, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy. He has said the trial will clear him.

The defense rested its case Thursday after calling four witnesses, CNN affiliate KVUE reported. The prosecution called more than 30 witnesses, the television station said.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said the case against his client began over congressional redistricting that gave Republicans control.

DeGuerin tried to get the trial moved to another jurisdiction, arguing that "heavily Democratic" Travis County, Texas, has a "strong anti-Tom DeLay feeling."

But Senior District Judge Pat Priest ruled in August that DeLay will get a fair trial there.

Two other men facing charges in the case will be tried later.

Over the summer, DeLay said a separate, long-running federal criminal investigation of him had been closed with no charges. The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the federal investigation.

DeLay was under investigation for his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Abramoff admitted defrauding Native American tribal clients of millions of dollars for help in gaining casino licenses.

DeLay said he had informed Abramoff that "our relationship is over" when he learned of Abramoff's plans for casinos aboard cruise ships. He also told reporters that during a visit to a casino on a Choctaw reservation, he was disgusted when he saw a long line of baby carriages lined up while parents were gambling at 11:30 p.m.