Grand jury indicts Rick Perry for "abuse of power"
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 22:52:55 GMT —
A grand jury has indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry for abuse of power involving asking a district attorney to step down.
Perry has been indicted on abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, both felony charges.
A grand jury in Travis County handed down the indictment. the Texas Tribune reported.
The charges are part of an ethics inquiry into his veto of funding for the state TMs public integrity unit.
The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution, Perry TMs general counsel Mary Anne Wiley said in a statement.
The presidential hopeful is accused of threatening to veto $7.5 million in funds for the public integrity unit run by the office of Travis County Democratic District Attorney, according to AP.
The Public Integrity Unit is part of the Travis County DA's office and conducts investigations via state funding.
The veto came after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg TMs Attorney was arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated, the Austin-America Statesman reported back in April of 2013.
Perry wanted Lehmberg to resign after the conviction, AP says.
The Texas Governor did veto the state funds, and a "complaint was filed alleging that Perry had improperly used a veto to deny funding for the unit", the Texas Tribune confirmed.
Perry will be turning himself in sometime next week, KGBT TMs sister station KEYE in Austin confirms.
Some are now calling on Perry to resign, including a state representative and a congressman.
It TMs a sad day for TX when a sitting governor is indicted on criminal charges, State Representative Rafael Anchia said via Twitter. I call on Gov Perry to step aside and allow TX to move forward.
Meanwhile former Florida Governor and Texas native Jeb Bush Tweeted, "The indictment of Governor Perry seems politically motivated and ridiculous. Major overreach and an encroachment on his veto authority."
The maximum punishment for the first degree felony charge is 99 years, and the third degree felony is punishable up to 10 years behind bars.
We will continue to aggressively defend the governor TMs lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail," Wiley said in a press release.
It has been nearly a century since a Texas Governor has been indicted, AP reports.