A grand jury has indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry on charges of abuse of power and coercion stemming from his vetoing of funding for state public corruption prosecutors, according to Reuters.
Perry, seen as a possible Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race, was charged with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official, a misdemeanor.
In August 2013, a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate claims that Perry broke the law when he publicly threatened to veto $7.5 million for the public integrity unit of the Travis County District, which is run by Democrat Rosemary Lehmberg’s office.
Lehmberg, however, was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges in 2013. Perry demanded her resignation and threatened to use his veto powers if she didn’t. The public official stayed in office and the Governor carried out his threat.
On Friday, an Austin grand jury indicted Perry on charges of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official, a misdemeanor.
According to the AP, the Texans for Public Justice government watchdog group were the first to file an ethics complaint accusing Perry of coercion since he threatened to use his veto before doing so in an attempt to pressure Lehmberg to quit.
Perry had already announced he is not seeking re-election in November.