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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK
Warrant for DeLay arrest issued
Tom DeLay
DeLay has denied the charges
A Texas court has issued a warrant for the arrest of leading US Republican politician Tom DeLay on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Bail was set at $10,000 (5,600) ahead of the former House majority leader's scheduled court appearance on Friday.

Officials said the warrant is a routine step. But it means that before his court appearance, Mr DeLay is likely to be fingerprinted and photographed.

Mr DeLay is accused of breaking campaign finance law, but denies it.

He is accused of laundering $190,000 (108,000) in corporate contributions for use in Republican campaigns in Texas.

State law forbids the use of corporate money for political campaigns.

"To any sheriff or peace officer of the state of Texas, greetings, you are hereby commanded to arrest Thomas Dale DeLay and keep him safely so that you have him before the 331st Judicial District Court of Travis County," the warrant said.

Mr DeLay is expected to present himself at Fort Bend County jail for booking, and to make his first court appearance on Friday morning.

The BBC's James Coomerasamy in Washington says Mr DeLay's lawyers had hoped to avoid the issuing of a warrant.

Its negative impact on public relations could be considerable, our correspondent says.

Mr DeLay - nicknamed the Hammer for his forthright style - was until recently one of the most powerful politicians in Washington.

A close ally of President George Bush, he has temporarily stepped down from his post as leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives to answer the charges.

See US President Bush with Tom DeLay

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