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Ear to the Ground

Grand Jury Indicts Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Abuse of Power Charges

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Posted on Aug 15, 2014

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The Texas governor’s presidential aspirations may take a back seat to his legal troubles. Rick Perry stands formally accused of two felonies related to his attempt to force the state capital’s district attorney, a Democrat, to resign.

As the Austin American-Statesman reports:

The indictment stems from Perry’s threat last summer to withhold $7.2 million in state money from [Travis County D.A. Rosemary] Lehmberg’s office unless she step down – a threat he later carried out by vetoing an appropriation in the state budget.

Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Perry, said in a statement following the indictment: “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.”

Perry would have chosen Lehmberg’s successor if she resigned. Although Texas is a red state, Austin and its surrounds are notoriously weird, and Perry is unpopular there. Actually, he’s unpopular all over Texas.

The two charges carry a combined seven-year minimum sentence, which could extend all the way to 109 years, convictions and judge, depending.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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