Perry indicted for coercion for veto threat - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Perry indicted for coercion for veto threat

AUSTIN, TX (AP/KCBD) -

Governor Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors.

Perry is accused of abusing his official powers by publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit at the Travis County District Attorney's office. 

He was indicted by a Travis County Grand Jury Friday on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years.

Perry said he'd veto the funding if the district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, didn't resign. Lehmberg had recently been convicted of drunken driving. When Lehmberg refused, Perry carried out his veto.

Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Gov. Perry, issued the following statement Friday: 

"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."

The Texas Democratic Party is now calling for Perry to step down from office.  

They released the following statement Friday: "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 (Texas Democratic Party) call on Governor Perry to immediately step down from office. Texans deserve real leadership and this is unbecoming of our Governor."

We have not received comment from the state Republican Party.  We will continue to update this developing story as we learn more.

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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