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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 22:35 GMT 23:35 UK
DeLay hands himself in to court
Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay has denied charges of money laundering and conspiracy
Leading US Republican politician Tom DeLay has handed himself in to a Texas court, where he was charged on money laundering and conspiracy counts.

The former House majority leader's appearance came a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was freed after posting $10,000 (5,600) bail.

Mr Delay, who was also fingerprinted and photographed, is due to appear in court again on Friday.

He is accused of breaking campaign finance law, but denies the charges.

Mr DeLay is alleged to have laundered $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.

Evaded press

Mr DeLay's attendance in court on Thursday, during which he posted bail and appeared briefly before a judge, was part of routine procedure before his court hearing in Austin, Texas.

He managed to avoid reporters gathered at the courthouse in his home county, Fort Bend, by going to Harris County instead.

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 W Bush, he has temporarily stepped down from his post as the second-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives to answer the charges.

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