Texas Gov Rick Perry Indicted On Two Felony Counts
A grand jury has handed up an indictment against Texas Gov. Rick Perry on two felony count for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant late Friday by a Travis County grand jury in connection with the investigation into an effort to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign, Dallas News reports.
At the center of the indictment is a complaint regarding intimidation which stems from the Republican Governor’s threat to veto of $7.5 million in state funding to the Public Integrity Unit which is run by Lehmberg’s office.
The threat came after she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and served a 45-day sentence; Perry called on her to step down but she refused to resign her position. Perry then vetoed the funding for the PIU.
A grand jury was called to determine whether or not Perry broke the law when he threatened to veto the funding. As a result they issued indictments on two felony charges: abuse of official capacity and coercion of public servant. If found guilty on the charges, Perry could be sentenced to a maximum 109 years in prison.
An indictment indicates the grand jury believes the state has a strong enough case to send to trial and is not a finding of guilt. Special prosecutor Michael McCrum oversaw the presentation to the grand jury who has been meeting on and off this summer and returned the indictment Friday afternoon.
Dallas News reports:
The grand jury was looking at potentially three state statutes: whether the longtime Republican governor tried to bribe a public official into stepping down; if he abused his position by misusing public funding “to obtain a benefit”; and whether he tried to coerce Lehmberg into taking “a specific performance of [her] official duty.”
Perry’s office has defended his actions, saying he exercised his constitutional authority to veto appropriations.
McCrum said, “The first count of abuse of official capacity. It basically charges that on the day of the veto in 2013 that Governor Perry intentionally or knowingly misused government property that had come into his custody or control.”
According to what McCrum told reporters, he plans to meet with Rick Perry’s attorneys on Monday.
My pal Tiffany from Liberal America sent me this tweet of the indictment:
A copy of the indictment against Texas Governor Rick Perry: pic.twitter.com/EurECsZ6sH
— KVR News (@KVRNews) August 15, 2014