Perry charged with abuse of power

   < < Go Back
from The Hill,

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was indicted on felony charges Friday by a grand jury in Austin for allegedly abusing his veto power to force the resignation of a Democratic prosecutor.

The grand jury indicted the 2016 presidential hopeful on two felony counts – coercion of public official and abuse of official capacity, according to The Associated Press.

Perry, 64, must turn himself in to the Travis County Jail, where he will be booked, fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken, according to KVUE-TV.

The charges stem from an ethics complaint filed last year by Texans for Public Justice, a left-leaning government watchdog group, claimed that Perry abused his official powers by threatening to veto money for public corruption prosecutors in the state in order to pressure a local district attorney to resign.

The public integrity unit is housed in the Travis County district attorney’s office. Perry called for the resignation of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after she was arrested and pled guilty in April 2013 to drunken driving.

Lehmberg, a Democrat, did not resign. Perry eventually made his veto threat a reality. The special prosecutor on the case worked to show evidence that Perry’s threat to veto $7.5 million over two years was unlawful.

“The grand jury has spoken that there is probable cause to believe that he [Perry] committed at least two felony crimes,” special prosecutor Michael McCrum told reporters, according to Reuters.

Michael McCrum-Special Prosecutor-Austin

The counts are first and third-degree felonies, with charges ranging from five to 99 years and two to 10 years, respectively.

The indictment says Perry, “with intent to harm another, to-wit, Rosemary Lehmberg and the Public Integrity Unity of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, intentionally or knowingly misused government property.”

Perry used “coercion” by “threatening to veto legislation that had been approved and authorized by the Legislature of the State of Texas” to fund the Public Integrity Unit unless Lehmberg resigned, according to the indictment.

“The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution,” Mary Anne Wiley, general counsel to the governor’s office, said in a statement.

“We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”

More From The HIll: