In a move that smacks of political payback, a Travis County grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official.
Both charges are felonies and the Republican governor could face up to 99 years in prison if found guilty.
Fox News reported that the indictment followed attempts by Perry to remove Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg — a Democrat — from office after she pleaded guilty to drunken driving in April 2013.
Lehmberg’s blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, and jail officials videotaped her belligerent behavior during the booking process, Fox News reported.
Breitbart News contributor Sarah Rumph posted a copy of the video in her report on Friday’s developments:
Lehmberg was sentenced to 45 days in jail, serving about half of the time. In response to the incident, Perry said he’d veto money for a public integrity unit run by Lehmberg’s office if she didn’t resign, and did so when she refused to step down.
Perry’s general counsel, Mary Anne Wiley, released a statement Friday saying the governor actions were legal.
“The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution,” she said. “We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”
Of little surprise, the Texas Democratic Party called on Perry to resign.
As the day’s news made the rounds on social media, many on the right were quick to offer their take on why the possible 2016 GOP presidential contender was targeted:
Breaking: Travis County prosecutor indicts Rick Perry for trying to cut the prosecutor’s budget.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) August 15, 2014
Rick Perry has pissed off all the right people for a very long time. This is revenge and an attempt to ruin his presidential aspirations.
— Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) August 15, 2014
I see why they waited until Friday news dump time to announce DA Drunky McDrunkerson’s bullshit indictment of Perry. — SteveK (@stephenkruiser) August 15, 2014
How dare Rick Perry veto funding for a drunk driving DA who refuses to resign after 2 weeks in jail! Arrest that man! — Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) August 15, 2014
“@TPCarney: Rick Perry indicted for….?” Pissing off a Dem DA with a rubber stamp grand jury.
— Instapundit.com (@instapundit) August 15, 2014
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