Didn’t see this coming.
Two associates of former U.S House Majority leader Tom DeLay will get a new judge.
State District Judge Pat Priest of San Antonio, who oversaw the month-long trial of DeLay last fall, surprisingly recused himself this morning on a motion submitted by the defense.
John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington are charged with conspiring to launder corporate money into campaign donations during the 2002 elections, the same charge DeLay was convicted on last fall.
Defense lawyers declined to say why they wanted Priest removed from the case, noting that the motion was sealed. Priest did not give any insight into why he stepped down.
Billy Ray Stubblefield of Georgetown, presiding judge of the Third Administrative Judicial Region, will appoint a new judge. The next court date for the case will be May 23.
Perhaps we’ll find out some day what this was about. Whoever inherits this better get up to speed quickly, lest it take another few years.
UPDATE: Here’s the Chron story, which doesn’t have much more information about this.