WASHINGTON -- A Texas prosecutor tried to convince a grand jury that Representative Tom DeLay gave tacit approval to a series of laundered campaign contributions, and when jurors declined to indict, he became angry, according to two people directly familiar with the proceeding.
The grand jury was one of three that considered whether there was probable cause to indict DeLay. Two other grand juries did indict the former House majority leader, who had to step aside temporarily under Republican rules.
Both indictments focused on an alleged scheme to provide corporate political donations to Texas legislative candidates in violation of state law.
The two people interviewed, who commented anonymously because of grand jury secrecy, said Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle became visibly angry when the grand jurors last week signed a document declining to indict, known as a ''no bill."
One person said the sole evidence Earle presented was a DeLay interview with the prosecutor, in which DeLay said he was generally aware of activities of his associates. He is charged in an alleged money- laundering scheme to funnel corporate donations to Texas legislative candidates in violation of state law.
The person said that Earle tried to convince the jurors that if DeLay ''didn't say 'Stop it,' he gave his tacit approval."
After the grand jurors declined to go forward, the mood ''was unpleasant," the other person said, describing Earle's reaction.
DeLay and political aides Jim Ellis and John Colyandro were indicted last week by another grand jury, accused of criminal conspiracy to violate Texas election laws.
After the second grand jury declined to indict, a third grand jury brought money laundering charges against DeLay on Monday.
Dick DeGuerin, attorney for DeLay, sought to have the original conspiracy charge dismissed Monday by arguing in a court filing that contended the indictment was based on a law that the Legislature changed in 2003. The original indictment alleges that the illegal acts date to 2002.
Earle said late Tuesday that he sought the second indictment of DeLay on Monday because he became aware of additional evidence.