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Austin

Republican fundraiser takes stand on day 6 of DeLay trial

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An Austin-based political operative is spending her day on the witness stand in the Tom DeLay conspiracy trial giving jurors an insider's look at big-money fundraising when political stakes are high.

State's witness Susan Lilly first took the stand Monday afternoon and returned for her second day of testimony.

On Tuesday the well known Austin-based fundraiser testified that she was hired by TRMPAC executive John Colyandro. He is awaiting trial on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The state accuses him of supervising an illegal collection and transfer of $190,000 into the 2002 Texas midterm elections.

Former Sugarland, Texas Congressman Tom DeLay is the first of three men to be tried in a political corruption case that stretches from the halls of the Texas Legislature in Austin to the halls of the national capitol in Washington D.C.

Jim Ellis is the third defendant awaiting trial.

DeLay has maintained his innocence and often says his charges are a political vendetta from the Travis County District Attorney's office.

The prosecution has been trying to establish links between fundraisers raising corporate money, and seven Republican candidates in the 2002 Texas campaigns. Lilly testified TRMPAC paid her $5,000 a month for the 2002 Texas election cycle for her fundraising efforts.

Before the 2005 indictments of DeLay, Colyandro, and Ellis, the TRMPAC fundraiser was brought in to testify before a Travis County grand jury. She expresses concerns that she was a target of an investigation.

In cross-examination, Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin asked Lilly, " Do you think they would come after you?" Lilly responded, "Yes."

Prosecutors say Lilly was never a target in the TRMPAC investigation.

DeGuerin went on to ask, "This is just politics isn't it?" Lilly quickly replied, "Yes."

DeLay faces up to life in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to last another two weeks.

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