Rick Perry Indicted for 'Abusing His Powers'

Texas governor indicted for carrying out veto threat

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 15, 2014 6:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry today for abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption—making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state's first indicted governor in nearly a century. A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit, which is run by Travis County District Rosemary Lehmberg's office. Several top aides to the Republican governor appeared before grand jurors in Austin, including his deputy chief of staff, legislative director, and general counsel. Perry himself wasn't called to testify.

He was indicted by an Austin grand jury 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 Lehmberg, who is based in Austin, should resign after she was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunken driving in April 2013. A video recording made at the jail showed Lehmberg shouting at staffers to call the sheriff, kicking the door of her cell, and sticking her tongue out. Perry eventually carried out his veto threat. No one disputes that he is allowed to veto measures approved by the Legislature, including part or all of the state budget. But the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint accusing the governor of coercion since he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.

In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivers a speech to nearly 300 in attendance at the 2014 RedState Gathering, in Fort Worth, Texas.
In this Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivers a speech to nearly 300 in attendance at the 2014 RedState Gathering, in Fort Worth, Texas.   (Tony Gutierrez)
This Aug. 8, 2014, file photo shows Governor Rick Perry as he speaks at the 2014 Red State Gathering, in Fort Worth, Texas.
This Aug. 8, 2014, file photo shows Governor Rick Perry as he speaks at the 2014 Red State Gathering, in Fort Worth, Texas.   (Tony Gutierrez)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
10%
3%
2%
43%
2%
40%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!