Texas' Perry Indicted for Coercion for Veto Threat

By: Will Weissert, Associated Press
By: Will Weissert, Associated Press

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 is 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.

Perry said he'd veto the funding if the district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, didn't resign. Lehmberg had recently been convicted of drunken driving. The state's Public Integrity Unit operates out of her office.

When Lehmberg refused, Perry carried out his veto, drawing an ethics complaint.

Perry is the first Texas governor indicted in nearly a century. He's leaving office in January, but he's a possible 2016 presidential run.

Statement from David L. Botsford, counsel for Gov. Perry:

I am outraged and appalled that the Grand Jury has taken this action, given the governor's constitutional right and duty to veto funding as he deems appropriate. This clearly represents political abuse of the court system and there is no legal basis in this decision. The facts of this case conclude that the governor's veto was lawful, appropriate and well within the authority of the office of the governor. Today's action, which violates the separation of powers outlined in the Texas Constitution, is nothing more than an effort to weaken the constitutional authority granted to the office of Texas governor, and sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a grand jury to punish the exercise of a lawful and constitutional authority afforded to the Texas governor.


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