Appeals court dismisses most serious charge against Perry

A Texas appeals court has dismissed one count of the two count indictment of Governor Rick Perry, leaving open the question of whether the presidential candidate will ever go to trial.

The court dismissed the coercion charge, which was based on the dubious notion that Perry acted criminally when he vetoed funding for the Democratic party's arm in Travis County - the Public Integrity Unit. Perry wanted the head of the unit, Rosemary Lehmberg, to resign following her arrest for DUI and subsequent drunken rants against officers that were caught on tape. The prosecutor in Travis country ruled that Perry's veto was "coercion" and indicted him.

The other charge - abuse of power - also rests on Perry's use of the veto to remove someone unfit to represent the people of Texas.

WFAA:

At the time, Lehmberg's office housed the public integrity unit, which handles ethics complaints against public officials. Lehmberg refused to step down, and Perry later made good on his threat, vetoing the approximately $3.7 million per year budgeted to fund the unit.

The appeals court agreed with Perry's lawyers that his threat was a part of the give-and-take of politics, protected by the First Amendment. In doing so, the appeals court cast doubt on how state District Judge Bert Richardson interpreted the definition of "coercion" under the law.

"The only remaining count we believe to be a misdemeanor, and the only issue is whether the governor's veto – or any veto in the absence of bribery – can ever be illegal," Tony Buzbee, Perry's top lawyer in the case, said in a statement. "The appeals court made clear that this case was questionable. The remaining charge is hanging by a thread, and we are confident that once it is put before the court, it will be dismissed on its face."

Travis County is one of the only Democratic counties in Texas, and includes the capital of Austin. The prosecutor is perfectly positioned to bring politically motivated indictments against GOP officials and has done so on numerous occassions. The lengths to which the prosecutor will go to "get" Perry are evident in his flawed legal reasoning that a governor's veto is a criminal act.

This case won't be a factor in either the GOP nomination race or the general election if Perry is nominated.

A Texas appeals court has dismissed one count of the two count indictment of Governor Rick Perry, leaving open the question of whether the presidential candidate will ever go to trial.

The court dismissed the coercion charge, which was based on the dubious notion that Perry acted criminally when he vetoed funding for the Democratic party's arm in Travis County - the Public Integrity Unit. Perry wanted the head of the unit, Rosemary Lehmberg, to resign following her arrest for DUI and subsequent drunken rants against officers that were caught on tape. The prosecutor in Travis country ruled that Perry's veto was "coercion" and indicted him.

The other charge - abuse of power - also rests on Perry's use of the veto to remove someone unfit to represent the people of Texas.

WFAA:

At the time, Lehmberg's office housed the public integrity unit, which handles ethics complaints against public officials. Lehmberg refused to step down, and Perry later made good on his threat, vetoing the approximately $3.7 million per year budgeted to fund the unit.

The appeals court agreed with Perry's lawyers that his threat was a part of the give-and-take of politics, protected by the First Amendment. In doing so, the appeals court cast doubt on how state District Judge Bert Richardson interpreted the definition of "coercion" under the law.

"The only remaining count we believe to be a misdemeanor, and the only issue is whether the governor's veto – or any veto in the absence of bribery – can ever be illegal," Tony Buzbee, Perry's top lawyer in the case, said in a statement. "The appeals court made clear that this case was questionable. The remaining charge is hanging by a thread, and we are confident that once it is put before the court, it will be dismissed on its face."

Travis County is one of the only Democratic counties in Texas, and includes the capital of Austin. The prosecutor is perfectly positioned to bring politically motivated indictments against GOP officials and has done so on numerous occassions. The lengths to which the prosecutor will go to "get" Perry are evident in his flawed legal reasoning that a governor's veto is a criminal act.

This case won't be a factor in either the GOP nomination race or the general election if Perry is nominated.