A Travis County grand jury Friday indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.
Grand jurors charged Perry, 63, with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony. The first charge carries a punishment of 5-99 years. The second charge is punishable by 2-10 years.
The indictment stems from Perry’s threat last summer to withhold $7.2 million in state money from Lehmberg’s office unless she step down – a threat he later carried out by vetoing an appropriation in the state budget.
Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Perry, said in a statement following the indictment: “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.”