Friday, August 15, 2014

2016 Presidential Hopeful, Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted For Abuse Of Power ..... Rosemary Lehmberg at the center of the controversy ( Travis County District Attorney ) .......

http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/08/rick-perry-indicted-on-two-felonies.html/


Rick Perry indicted on two felonies

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Gov. Rick Perry's general counsel says he will "aggressively defend (his) lawful and constitutional action." (File photo/Associated Press)
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry was indicted on two felony counts for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant late Friday by a Travis County grand jury.
The case stems from Perry’s vetoing the $7.5 million biennial funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit last year. He threatened to withhold the money unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.
In announcing the indictment, special prosecutor Michael McCrum of San Antonio said he felt confident of the charges brought against the governor and was “ready to go forward.”
Mary Anne Wiley, general counsel for the governor, said that Perry is being charged for exercising his rights and power as governor.
“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,” Wiley said.
Abuse of official capacity is a first-degree felony with punishment ranging from five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant is a third-degree felony with a penalty of two to 10 years.
The indictment immediately fueled partisan fighting. Perry is a conservative Republican indicted by a grand jury in a Democratic county. Regardless, the charges could cripple any chance of a second presidential campaign, which had been gathering some momentum in recent months.
In announcing the indictment, McCrum said that he weighed the duty he had in looking at a sitting governor.
“I took into account the fact that we’re talking about the governor of a state and the governor of the state of Texas, which we all love,” he said.

“Obviously, that carries a level of importance. But when it gets down to it, the law is the law,” McCrum said.

Perry becomes only the second sitting governor ever indicted after James “Pa” Ferguson in 1917, and the first in almost a century.
The charges stem from a veto Perry issued against funding in the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit on June 14 of last year.
Perry made it clear in public statements and through emissaries that he didn’t believe the state should fund an office headed by someone who had lost the public’s trust.
He pointed to Lehmberg’s arrest just two months prior for drunk driving, which included her video-taped, belligerent conduct while being booked into the jail.
At the time, the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates and prosecutes public corruption and malfeasance, was examining one of Perry’s signature projects – the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
If she had resigned, Perry would have appointed her replacement.
By the time of the veto, Lehmberg had pled guilty to DWI, fulfilled her 45-day sentence and completed a treatment program. She refused to resign but said she would retire after she completed her term.
Perry vetoed the money.
Perry’s office continued to negotiate with her after the veto, pledging to restore funding to the unit if she stepped down.
The allegations of criminal wrongdoing were first filed by Craig McDonald, director of the nonprofit campaign reform group Texans for Public Justice.
McDonald has maintained that using veto threats to try to make another elected official resign was gross abuse of office.
“The grand jury decided that Perry’s bullying crossed the line into law breaking,” he said. “We think any governor under felony indictment ought to consider stepping aside.”
But Republican Party of Texas chairman Steve Munisteri immediately decried the prosecution as politically motivated.
“Most people scratch their heads and wonder why we’re spending taxpayer dollars to try to put somebody in jail for saying that they didn’t feel it was appropriate to fund a unit where the person in charge was acting in a despicable way,” Munisteri said.
Some ethics lawyers said it would be difficult to prosecute Perry, who could contend he was simply playing political hardball and that he was exercising the legal power of a veto.
McCrum was appointed by a judge from Williamson County, a conservative suburb of Austin, to look into the case. The current grand jury has been studying the charges since April.
A half dozen of Perry’s staff has appeared before the grand jury, including his budget expert, legislative liaison, deputy communications director and criminal justice advisor.
Perry never testified and McCrum said he was not subpoenaed, although McCrum said he had “ongoing discussions” with his attorney.
McCrum, a former federal prosecutor, said he interviewed up to 40 people as part of his investigation, reviewed hundreds of documents and read dozens of applicable case law.
He dismissed the notion that partisan politics played any part.
“That did not go into my consideration whatsoever,” he said.
McCrum said he and Perry’s defense lawyer, David Botsford, will likely meet on Monday and work out details of an arraignment.
Botsford could not be reached for comment.
Perry will have to present himself before a judge, undergo book-in procedures, including fingerprinting and a mug shot.
Travis County commissioners eventually restored $1.8 million last August to continue some funding to the Public Integrity Unit.
In December, a top executive at CPRIT, Jerry Cobbs, was indicted in connection with how an $11 million grant slipped through the agency without formal or proper review.
The grant went to Peloton Therapeutics, who had a large investor that also had contributed $440,000 to the campaigns of both Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.











2016 Presidential Hopeful, Texas Governor Rick Perry Indicted For Abuse Of Power



Tyler Durden's picture





 
Texas Governor, and 2016 Presidential hopeful, Rick Perry has been indicted by a grand jury. Rather ironically, as AP reports, Perry carried out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption, promising publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (who pled guilty to drunk driving) resigned. He was indicted by an Austin grand jury on felony counts of abuse of official capacity (maximum punishment 5-99 years in prison) and coercion of a public servant (2-10 years in prison). Perry is the first Texas governor indicted since 1917. We have one word... oops!

A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state's first indicted governor in nearly a century.

A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit run by the office of Travis County Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Lehmberg was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry's calls to resign.

...

Perry was indicted on charges of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony with potential punishments of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years.

No one disputes that Perry is allowed to veto measures approved by the Legislature, including part or all of the state budget. But the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint accusing the governor of coercion because he threatened to use his veto before actually doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.

"We're pleased that the grand jury determined that the governor's bullying crossed the line into illegal behavior," said Craig McDonald, executive director of Texans for Public Justice. "The complaint had merit, serious laws were potentially broken."

...

Perry said Lehmberg, who is based in Austin, should resign after she was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunken driving in April 2013. A video recording made at the jail showed Lehmberg shouting at staffers to call the sheriff, kicking the door of her cell and sticking her tongue out.

Lehmberg faced pressure from other high-profile Republicans in addition to Perry to give up her post. Her blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit for driving.

Lehmberg served about half of her 45-day jail sentence but stayed in office, despite Perry's assertions that her behavior was inappropriate.

...

The indictment is the first of its kind since 1917,when James "Pa" Ferguson was indicted on charges stemming from his veto of state funding to the University of Texas in an effort to unseat faculty and staff members he objected to. Ferguson was eventually impeached, then resigned before being convicted, allowing his wife, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, to take over the governorship.
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Full indictment below:



Before You Pass Judgment On Rick Perry…

POSTED AT 7:59 PM ON AUGUST 15, 2014 BY DUANE PATTERSON

Crazy videos.....
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Rick Perry thought her to be a disgrace, and wanted her to resign. She didn’t. So he took the next step and threatened to veto funding for her office. In response, a grand jury handed down an abuse of power indictment for coercive use of a veto late this afternoon. So the woman who was belligerent and intoxicated stays, Rick Perry is the bad guy and needs to go. Right. Got it.
Update: In case you want to give Lehmberg the benefit of the doubt, here is what her blood alcohol level was at the time of her arrest and booking, according to her attorney, David Sheppard.
District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg has pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and immediately taken into custody.
Lehmberg’s blood alcohol level registered at 0.23 when she was arrested April 13, her attorney David Sheppard said.


http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/08/rick-perry-indicted-on-two-felonies.html/