If you’ve been listening, watching or surfing the news, you’ve probably heard that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been indicted by a grand jury on two counts. The first is abuse of his official powers as governor, a charge of first degree felony. The second count is coercion of a public servant, namely Rosemary Lehmberg, the District Attorney for Travis County, a third degree felony under Texas law. There is a significant amount of factual detail contained within the grand jury’s indictment documentation, going far beyond the headlines in the news. Here are some of the underlying facts to shed some light on this complicated legal matter.
What’s The Background Leading Up To The Indictment?
According to some political theorists, the motivation behind the indictment goes back to the 2013 arrest and incarceration of Lehmberg for driving under the influence. As a result of the DUI charge, Perry demanded her resignation as he felt she was unfit for office; if she would refuse, he threatened to veto all funding for the Public Accountability Office that Lehmberg heads. She did decline to resign and Perry made good on his word. According to the grand jury indictment, these facts lay the foundation for the two counts that have been levied against Perry.
Does Perry Refute The Charges?
While Perry did turn himself in and waive arraignment, he pled not guilty in the case. His attorneys have filed a Motion to Dismiss the two grand jury counts as being political in nature and without foundation. The Motion also states that Perry’s actions, including the veto of funds, were within his constitutionally-granted powers as governor of Texas.
Where Does The Case Go From Here?
Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum was appointed to pursue the matter and present evidence to the grand jury. After Perry’s filings, McCrum has time to respond to the allegations and facts set forth in the Motion to Dismiss. Lehmberg and other officials from Travis County are not participating in the case. If granted, Perry's motion will put an end to the matter and no further court action will take place.
As you can see, some legal matters bring with them a degree of complication that only an attorney can handle. If you find yourself accused of a crime or otherwise involved in legal wrongdoing, your first step should be to consult an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable in the criminal laws of the state of Texas. Please contact the law firm of Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo, Texas, to schedule a consultation where we can discuss your case in more detail.