Rick Perry Indicted on Two Counts: Abuse of Office, Coercion

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On Friday evening, the special prosecutor and grand jury looking into whether Governor Rick Perry acted inappropriately when he withheld $7.5 million owed to the public integrity unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office completed their investigation. Perry stated he would veto the funding if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign after being convicted of drunk driving. When she refused, Perry followed through with his veto which drew an ethics complaint.

The grand jury indicted Governor Rick Perry on two counts. Abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official. These are first and third degree felonies respectively. If convected on both counts, Governor Perry can face between 5 and 99 years in jail.

Governor Perry is expected to have a mug shot taken following these indictments.

The full indictment can be read here.

The Texas Democratic Party has called for Rick Perry’s resignation.

Via The Austin America Statesman, here is video of Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum issuing the indictment:

From The Texas Democratic Party:

Austin, TX – Rick Perry was just indicted on two counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released the following statement:”Governor Rick Perry has brought dishonor to his office, his family and the state of Texas. Texans deserve to have leaders that stand up for what is right and work to help families across Texas. The indictment today shows a failure of Governor Perry to follow the law. This is systematic of a broader problem: Ken Paxton is facing a possible indictment and Attorney General Abbott has refused to rule on whether Governor Perry can use taxpayer dollars to cover his legal expenses.

We call on Governor Perry to immediately step down from office.

Texans deserve real leadership and this is unbecoming of our Governor.”

Congressman Joaquin Castro took to Twitter and also called for Perry’s resignation:

Per Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune, State Representatives Rafael Anchia and Armando Walle have also called for Perry’s resignation.

Sen. Wendy Davis has now weighed in with a short statement:

“These allegations are troubling and I have confidence in our justice system to do its job.”

Neither Greg Abbott nor his campaign have issued a statement, nor are they expected to.

Progress Texas has been following the case of Governor Rick Perry’s possible indictment since the very beginning. They issued the following statement:

Governor Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury on two counts, one for official oppression and another for coercion. The indictments follow a four-month investigation by a Republican special prosecutor.
The indictment is the result of Rick Perry attempting to use the office of Governor and taxpayer money to bribe an elected official to quit office. Perry has since billed taxpayers for his legal defense at a rate of $450 an hour, so far totaling more than $40,000.

Progress Texas Executive Director Ed Espinoza released the following statement about Perry’s indictment:

“Rick Perry’s track record of insider conduct is shameful and reflects a disturbing pattern of Republican misconduct. Now Perry will have to get booked, have his mugshot taken and his fingerprints recorded.??But questions remain. At any point, has Attorney General Greg Abbott – the state’s watchdog – advised or condoned these actions? Government is supposed to be for the people, but with these guys – it’s just for insiders.”

The indictment of Gov. Perry is the latest scandal to hit Texas Republicans. The head of the Cancer Research Fund was already indicted in connection with illegally awarding $11 million in cancer funds to a major Perry and Abbott donor. Republican Ken Paxton, running to replace Abbott as Attorney General, also recently confessed to committing a felony and faces possible disbarment and criminal prosecution.

Matt Angle of The Lone Star Project issued the following statement:

“Today’s indictment of Rick Perry confirms the corrupt culture of GOP leadership in Texas. Governor Perry’s abuse of power and the protection of insiders over hard working Texas is, unfortunately, business as usual in the Perry/Abbott/Paxton political world.
Perry’s indictment does not stand alone. It shines a light on failed state leaders who should be replaced.”

Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Governor Perry issued the following statement:

“The veto in question as 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.”

David L. Botsford, another General Counsel for Governor Perry, issued this statement later in the day:

Good luck with that, Governor.

Progress Texas Executive Director Ed Espinoza released the following statement about Perry’s indictment:

“Rick Perry’s track record of insider conduct is shameful and reflects a disturbing pattern of Republican misconduct. Now Perry will have to get booked, have his mugshot taken and his fingerprints recorded.But questions remain. At any point, has Attorney General Greg Abbott – the state’s watchdog – advised or condoned these actions? Government is supposed to be for the people, but with these guys – it’s just for insiders.”

See more here.

Christopher Hooks of the Texas Observer has a great roundup of how we got here and what these two indictments will likely mean.

You can follow me on Twitter at @trowaman.

About Author

Joseph Vogas

Joseph was raised in Friendswood, Texas in North Galveston County. He went on to graduate from the University of North Texas with a degree in Political Science. After working for multiple campaigns, Joseph was able to work in the 83rd legislature in Austin in 2013. While retired from professional campaign work, Joseph still enjoy the data behind elections and enjoys sharing his knowledge of how to win elections in naturally unfriendly turf with others. Joseph is an avid archer and enjoys Star Wars and DC Comics.

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