House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said today his indictment on one charge of conspiracy to violate Texas campaign finance law is the result of partisan politics.
"This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham and Mr. Earle knows it," DeLay said during a news conference.
For three years, District Attorney Ronnie Earle has been trying to prove that DeLay and two political associates funneled corporate money into state legislative campaigns, which is illegal in Texas.
Prosecutors say the men disguised the donations by sending the money to the Republican National Committee, which in turn sent money back to Texas.
But the only evidence cited in the indictment is a check for $190,000 used in the alleged contribution-swapping scheme. The indictment provides no evidence that DeLay knew anything about it.
"It's a very skeleton indictment, if you will," said prosecutor Chris Lewis. "There is not really very much meat on the bone of this indictment."
Sources familiar with the case say there is more evidence. But DeLay says the prosecutor is a Democrat on a witch hunt.
In a news conference today, DeLay called Earle "an unabashed partisan zealot with a well-documented history of launching baseless investigations."
Republicans defended DeLay publicly, but privately some fretted that his frequent brushes with controversy may be hurting their party.
ABC News' Linda Douglass filed this report for "World News Tonight."