Sometimes the best stories concerning Rick Perry begin with “indicted by grand jury” and end with “for abuse of power.” They’re short, sweet, and end like they should.
Talking Points Memo reports that a grand jury has indicted the governor of Texas on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant; the the decision was made based on evidence presented by a special prosecutor that Perry broke the law when he followed through on a threat to veto funding for the public integrity office, run by Democrat Rosemary Lehmberg.
Perry is looking at 2 to 10 years in the prison for the second charge. For the first charge, he’s looking at 5 to 99 years. I wonder if you can run for president from prison.
Recall that this whole thing began when Lehmberg was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunk driving in April of 2013. Lehmberg served half of her 45-day sentence but stayed in office, despite Perry’s calls for her to resign. Perry eventually carried out his veto threat, prompting a watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice, to file an ethics complaint that accused Perry of coercion.
While everything Perry did was technically legal — line-item vetoes are a power of the governor — Perry made the mistake of threatening the veto publicly, announcing his intentions, and then following through. According to CNN, his attorney, David L. Botsford, still called the indictment a “political abuse of the court system.” He added that it “violated the separation of powers” 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.”
Perry’s aides also maintain that he did nothing wrong. Spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said in April that the veto didn’t violate any laws, and that his aides would “remain ready and willing to assist with [the grand jury] inquiry.” Meanwhile, Perry wasn’t called to testify.
Rumors persist that he was watching sadly as his dreams of president sunk in the Gulf of Mexico.
You can read the indictment below.
You can watch the CNN report below: