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by
Bryan Preston

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August 15, 2014 - 4:41 pm

This is ridiculous.

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A grand jury has handed up an indictment against Gov. Rick Perry in connection with the investigation into an effort to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign.

Perry wanted Lehmberg to resign because she had been busted for drunk driving. It’s not good to have a drunk driver, captured on camera abusing the officers who arrested her, heading up the Public Integrity Unit.

At the center of the issue is a complaint about intimidation stemming from Perry’s threat to veto of $7.5 million in state funding to the Public Integrity Unit run by Lehmberg’s office. The threat came after she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and served a 45-day sentence; Perry called on her to step down but she refused to resign her position. Perry then vetoed the funding for the PIU.

A grand jury was called to determine whether or not Perry broke the law when he threatened to veto the funding. As a result they issued indictments on two felony charges: abuse of official capacity and coercion of public servant. If found guilty on the charges, Perry could be sentenced to a maximum 109 years in prison.

The office is funded by the state. As governor, Perry has veto power. Full stop.

This indictment is political. Every bit as political as the kangaroo court charges that former District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, lodged against numerous Republicans over the years — both because that office is politicized, and Travis County is full of guttersnipes and fools.

But that doesn’t mean that the charges will get thrown out. The legal jeopardy to Perry is quite real.

Earle got former Rep. Tom Delay, Republican, convicted on crimes that were not even committed in Travis County, and were not even crimes at the time they were supposedly committed.

Those convictions were eventually thrown out, but not before Earle had totally destroyed Delay’s career and tainted the entire Republican Party — which was the goal all along.

More: This is the official Perry wanted to depart the Public Integrity Unit, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Her drunk driving arrest really ought not to send Gov. Perry to prison, but this is Travis County we’re talking about. The threat to him is real.

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Update: This is the same playbook the Democrats ran against Delay, no doubt about it. On the heels of the indictment, Texas Democrats are already calling for Perry to resign. These are the same people who have looked the other way while the DA, Rosemary Lehmberg, has remained in office even after her drunk driving escapades.

The Democrats will get a mugshot of Perry before long. They will use that to destroy his reputation and taint all Republicans.

It’s a hail Mary pass for the Wendy Davis campaign, of course. These people cannot win in this state on issues. So they are politicizing the legal system in on of their few strongholds.

Update: Perry responds (h/t Business Insider):

Not long after news of the indictment broke Friday evening, Perry’s office released a statement maintaining his innocence and declaring he “will ultimately prevail.”

“The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution,” said Mary Anne Wiley, Perry’s general counsel. “We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”

Update: Any doubt that this entire episode is political?

 

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
"The office is funded by the state. As governor, Perry has veto power. Full stop."

That woman is drunk as a skunk. An argumentative drunk also.

Ain't no way to go through life as fat, drunk and stupid.

Austin Texas is Moscow On The Colorado. It is full of moonbats and various deranged Liberals.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This calls for some lawfare against Perry's accusers.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ronnie Earle is the viper the democrat party maintains in the bosom of the red state Texas capital. Recall that in addition to Delay, Earle went after Kay Bailey Hutchison with outrageous accusatons immediately following her initial Senate electoral victory. Earle should have been convicted of prosecutorial abuse years ago but he is protected at the highest levles of the federal government.

One has to ask whether this is Obama payback for Perry's current statements and actions concerning the southern border. I suspect you'll find Eric Holder's thoroughly corrupt DOJ ultimately behind this indictment.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (72)
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I have a note to pj media, and whoever designs your website. You guys have some stupid add that insists on running, but when it does it ends up crashing my computer. I get a warniing saying some script is taking up too much bandwidth and I should stop it to protect my computer from crashing. But when I say yes, the stupid add, with the stupid error message keeps repeatedly running. I like to comment on your sites, and read your articles, but if you are going to crash my computer with poorly designed adds, I may not revisit.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
If this kind of political abuse can happen to a sitting governor, NO ONE is safe anymore. This is third-world stuff, happening in the United States. One can only pray that 1) Perry will fight and win this false charge big time, and 2) that it will backfire against the Dems big time. If this indictment is allowed to go forward, if this injustice is allowed to stand, you can put a fork in America.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wiki page giving some perspective on amounts of alcohol consumption & effects, etc.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content

It would appear that the good Texas DA was close to the blackout stage (she probably had developed some hardiness because she is doubtless an alcoholic who has not reached end-stage liver damage yet).
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This case should be resolved by motion. It is a bogus abuse of the grand jury system.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This case is absurdly transparent. I am a veteran prosecutor of 30 years, 20 as the elected DA (Democrat) in one of America's most liberal counties, and I am embarrassed for the profession by this indictment.

So it's a crime for a governor to threaten to refuse, and later to refuse, to turn seven million taxpayer dollars over to a "public integrity" task force run by a contentious drunk who refuses to resign when convicted and jailed for DUI? Really? And this after the Travis County Tom DeLay travesty?

The real tragedy here is the high level of tolerance displayed by Austin Democrats for partisan abuse of the criminal process and for the continuation in office of a DA who violated the law she was elected to enforce.

Pathetic and embarrassing. But that's Austin by now.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have served as a GJ & I cannot imagine how these people were persuaded in this case. Of course, I wasn't there but still.........
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps the one being indicted should be Lemberg and the special prosecutor for their unconstitutional abuse of power. It's about time conservatives and Republicans give back to the Democrats a taste of their own medicine. Boehner should immediately look to iinvestigate and call a special prosecutor to investigate Nancy Pelosi for using the power of her office to pump up real estate prices in Mission Bay with a federally funded light rail project, sso large democratic billionaires, including her husband and the head of Salesforce.com could make a fortune on the real estate.


Perry was set-up just Like the lyrics in the old Dead song Truckin'

Busted - down on Bourbon Street
Set up - like a bowling pin
Knocked down - it gets to wearing thin
They just won't let you be

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perry has the right to Veto, he doesn't have the right to threaten. That's the issue he will face and why the GJ indicted him imo.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
What an absurd rationale. So if a governor beleives an official is corrupt, and tells them "I think you should resign, and if you dont I will exercise the power of the purse and defund you" that is improper cooercion??? Improper cooercion is trying to cooerce a public official do do something illegal, or against the public interest, for a corrupt reason, not asking some corrupt drunk to resign. The corrupt one here is the prosecutor, abusing the grand jury system in a transparent attempt to protect her own job.
You dems have been bringing these abusive prosecutions for a long time now, with Delay being a good example, but this is the trashiest abuse of power yet. I dont even like Perry all that much, but this indictment is so incredibly corrupt and self serving it makes me want to throw up.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Then all parents in the US should immediately turn themselves in.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not at all sure if anything would be different in this case if he had not issued that threat, as this whole thing smacks of being purely political.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nonsense! He has the right to express the reason why he will veto or not veto prior to taking action.

For example, "If Republicans include xyz provision in the bill, I will veto." Coercion? Threatening? Only if you are a Texas Democrat and the speaker is Republican.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
looks like the criminal marxists are getting nervous about the New Perry
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even Liberals across the country see this as nakedly political.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Off topic a little and I am not saying that she wasn't drunk or that the indictment is not bogus political nonsense. However, I would urge anyone over 50 or with hip or back problems, a bum knee or ankle or with any skeletal mis-alignment to try these sobriety tests . Even when sober they are nearly impossible to execute without wavering or stumbling. And the follow-the-light test can make you dizzy - especially if you have a headache or are tired.

I know it is unpopular and politically incorrect to say - but the war against drunk driving casts way to wide a net that ruins many lives of non-dangerous drivers while doing little to reduce the number of really egregious offenders. Used to be you had to actually do something to someone to be convicted of a crime and this is a situation where you are being arrested and convicted based on your potential to do harm. Again I am sure I will be blasted for saying this but I am a far safer driver after a drink or two drinks than my grandfather was sober.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Physical problems could interfere with the physical part of the test (although I have seen no evidence this official had any of those physical problems), but how would they affect the actual blood alcohol measurement? The physical part of the test is really just screening to establish probable cause for the actual blood alcohol measurement, which is the main evidence to convict. And in her case, her levels were not just slightly over the line, but really grossly falling down drunk.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tests show that only about 70% of well-rested, healthy, sober people can pass most sobriety tests—I don't have the exact data handy, but I think it came from the ACLU. I am just responding to the sobriety test comment and am not discussing whether or not she was or was not sober.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hear you but her level (remember too, women are, generally speaking, more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than men #itiswhatitis), was quite high at 0.23. Most men would be visibly inebriated with a level that high; it's close to stumbling-around drunk for the hardy, practically falling-down drunk for most. An hour or more probably went by before that video was taken & she looked pretty drunk then; I hate to imagine how bad she was when she was stopped. Another thing, she was caught with an open container of vodka; this points to a case of "power drinking." NTS, no one with a level that high is fit to drive.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Her blood alcohol was three times the legal limit.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Like I said, I am off topic a little and if she was drunk then she was drunk. But my point is that the physical tests are a little scary even if you have not been drinking. And given that a DUI can have a significant affect on your life, we deserve better protection against false positives and better analysis of the efficacy and fairness of the current laws and methods.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
They physical tests are just a screening device, to establish probably cause for the actual blood alcohol measurement. It is the measured blood alcohol level that really establishes conviction. Unless you can call that into question, your comment is mostly irelevant, and sounds like the kind of thing that shyster lawyers use to get real drunk drivers off with.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
A good defense lawyer knows the flaws in these tests and if the prosecution has no other evidence besides the roadside sobriety test, their case should fail. In the meantime you spend a few thousand dollars, have your car impounded and spend some time in jail. Good police officers just use these tests to get a general impression and to decide if they should pursue the matter further and get a warrant and a blood test. Good prosecutors throw out cases based solely on sobriety tests.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Keep in mind that a person stopped for these road side tests at a sobriety check point or randomly coming out of a restaurant parking lot, etc., has harmed no one at that point. He/she is simply under suspicion of being in a condition that makes it slightly more likely that someone could be harmed in the future (does this sound like it should be "cause" under our system of laws?).

As much as I am against driving under the influence, I think that MADD-driven campaigns have been infused with political correctness and given carte blanche such that no one dares to challenge the resulting enforcement rules and methods - and under which we have forfeited some of our most basic constitutional rights. For example, the legal blood alcohol level has been continually lowered, each step down is instituted without any evidence that it will deliver any meaningful results. The bad drunks who actually cause most significant accidents ignore those limits wherever they are set. This increases the possibility that random citizens - although highly unlikely to cause any harm to anyone - may have to "spend a few thousand dollars, have your car impounded and spend some time in jail. " as you suggest.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with you that some states have set the blood alcohol far too low. Legal limits should be set with real science, for example by having a study that proved that over 70% of drivers would have their reflexes over 40% degraded at that level. But that was also not relevant in this case, since she was way over even the most generous limit.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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