Delay: Is He Home Free?

Has Tom DeLay dodged a bullet? Texans for a Republican Majority--a group he organized and raised money for--was indicted last week for soliciting $120,000 in corporate donations to influence state elections. But the indictment makes no mention of DeLay, and Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's two-year campaign-fund-raising probe is expected to wind down soon without bringing charges against the House majority leader, according to lawyers close to the case who declined to be identified because of legal sensitivities. Earle doesn't plan to refer evidence to the prosecutor in DeLay's home district either, an Earle spokesman says. DeLay's office released a statement saying he "voluntarily talked" to Earle's office. But one of the lawyers close to the case says DeLay this summer put off attempts by Earle's office to question him, citing scheduling conflicts. Then Earle's office prepared a subpoena--after which DeLay agreed to a secret 90-minute interview in Austin in mid-August. "He needed some nudging," says the lawyer. A DeLay spokesman says he was unaware of any subpoena.