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Government/Politics

Texas’ Highest Criminal Court Drops Charges Against Former Gov. Perry

022416_perry.jpg
Ryan E. Poppe
/
Former Gov. Rick Perry after charges were dismissed against him.

 

At the headquarters of the influential conservative think tank, Texas Public Policy Foundation, the former governor seemed relieved that his expensive legal fight had ended.

 

“The courts decision today proves that this indictment was nothing less than a baseless political attack, an assault on the constitutional powers on the office of the governor," Perry said.

 

Perry, who ended his 2016 presidential bid in September, said the criminal charges were one of the factors contributing to his unsuccessful campaign.

 

“Obliviously, this indictment as it would anybody, had a negative effect on our candidacy,"  Perry said.

 

The charges against the former governor began with his threat in 2013 to veto money for the State’s Public Integrity Unit unless the Travis County District Attorney stepped down.  The DA, a democrat, oversaw the integrity unit and had been arrested for drunken driving.

 

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that charges against Perry violated the Texas Constitution by improperly limiting the governor’s veto authority.

 

Craig McDonald is executive director of Texans for Public Justice, the group that filed the complaint against Perry.  McDonald’s not surprised by the ruling, but said he wished appellate judges would’ve been able to examine the same evidence a grand jury viewed before indicting Perry.

 

“What the court did was say we don’t need to see the facts on whether or not this criminal statute applies.  We will dismiss this before any of the facts of what happened in the governor’s office are shown in open court," McDonald explained.

 

The dismissal of charges ends the criminal case against Perry.