Texas' Perry indicted for coercion for veto threat

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Updated: 8/15/2014 11:34 pm
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors.

The Republican governor's accused of abusing his official powers by publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit at the Travis County District Attorney's office. He was indicted by an Austin grand jury Friday on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years.

Perry said he'd veto the funding if the district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, didn't resign. Lehmberg had recently been convicted of drunken driving. When Lehmberg refused, Perry carried out his veto.

The former presidential candidate is the first Texas governor indicted in nearly a century. Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum said that the two charges are both felonies. "The grand jury's spoken that at least there's probable cause to believe that he committed two crimes, two felony crimes. For count one, it's five-to-99 years in prison. And for count two, it's two-to-10 years in prison."

"I looked at the law, I looked at the facts and I presented everything possible to the grand jury," added McCrum.

The General Counsel for Governor Perry issued a statement disputing the charges and defending Perry's actions. Mary Anne Wiley released the following statement:

"The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution. We will continue to aggressively defend the governor's lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail."

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Trzo9veuha - 8/17/2014 1:44 PM
1 Vote
In days gone by bringing this charge in court would result in a judge slapping a contempt of court charge on the DA and throwing out the charges with prejudice.

sierra11 - 8/16/2014 4:27 PM
1 Vote
No different than our man "Harry". He somehow keeps his hands clean while others around him go to prison. Tell me, how does that work?

fastd - 8/16/2014 3:49 PM
0 Votes
Speed and waddy11 you may be right that politics were involved in this,per the Huston Chronicle:The veto threat came as the Public Integrity Unit was looking into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the creation of which was championed by Perry. The institute had been hit by a scandal regarding the inadequate review of grants, and grants going to those who made contributions to support the agency and political donations to officials. The agency's former chief commercialization officer was indicted after being accused of withholding information that an $11 million grant had not been reviewed as required.

Speed - 8/16/2014 12:07 PM
2 Votes
Certainly makes me wonder how much the Democrats do that could be prosecuted on the same laws....

waddy11 - 8/15/2014 11:41 PM
2 Votes
Any one else smell Obama behind this? Using the courts instead of the IRS now?

oldguyincc - 8/15/2014 6:44 PM
1 Vote
As everyone knows, DUI is a much more heinous crime than abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official. The reason texans drink is to forget they're texans. However coercion of public officials by contributing to their reelection campaign coffers and outright gifts is so prevalent that it is now accepted and expected.

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