WASHINGTON — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday dropped charges against Rick Perry that alleged the former Texas governor abused his power while in office.
Perry, a two-time former GOP presidential candidate, was indicted by a grand jury in August 2014 after he first threatened and then carried out a veto that defunded a statewide public integrity unit in an attempt to force a district attorney’s resignation.
Perry originally faced two indictments, but one was dismissed by a lower court in July.
“Appeals court clears @GovernorPerry of all charges. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. #StandWithRick,” tweeted an official account manned by his staff.
The case examined the state’s separation-of-power provision in the Texas Constitution and a governor’s veto power under the “abuse of official capacity” statute.
Perry fought the indictment, claiming that the counts were “unconstitutional.”
The dismissal supported this claim, stating, “public servants have a First Amendment right to engage in expression, even threats, regarding their official duties.”
Perry served as the governor of Texas for 15 years, where he was the longest-serving governor in the history of the state.
Lt. Governor Patrick on Dismissal of all Charges Against Governor Perry
AUSTIN – I am extremely pleased that the unconstitutional criminal charges filed against Governor Rick Perry by a rogue Travis County prosecutor have been dismissed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
As I pointed out more than a year ago, Gov. Perry is a dedicated public servant who served our state with integrity and in the best interest of Texans.
From the start of this torturous and expensive legal journey it was clear he was within his constitutional authority to veto the funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Office.
This indictment was wrong and should never have been brought. Our legal system should never be used to settle political differences.
Public office holders must have the ability to question the use of tax dollars – especially as they relate to the funding of a mismanaged government entity.
In this case, Governor Perry chose to withhold funding from an elected official and tax supported public agency he deemed was not acting in the best interest of the public.
I support the action he took and today’s ruling by Texas’ highest criminal court.