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.Perry promised the veto unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned, citing her conviction for drunk driving. Others saw the veto as an attempt to gut the Public Integrity Unit, an agency responsible for violations of environmental law and the agency that began the prosecution of powerful former Rep. Tom DeLay.
An indictment indicates the grand jury believes the state has a strong enough case to send to trial and is not a finding of guilt.
[T]he Public Integrity Unit was in the process of conducting an investigation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. CPRIT received a ton of money from the Legislature to award grants to high-level medical research projects. The problem: a lot of that money was going to people who shouldn’t have gotten it. And some of those folks had close ties to Perry. Just a few months ago, Lehmberg’s office indicted CPRIT’s former director over his allegedly improper disbursement of an $11 million grant. But when Lehmberg got pulled over with the potato juice in her car last spring, the investigation was just underway.
When Lehmberg’s DWI went public, Republicans saw a way to get rid of a pesky, entrenched foe. [...]