Rick Perry Exonerated. Has the Backlash Against Criminalizing Ordinary Politics Begun?

Rosemary Lehmberg - YouTubeOver two million dollars in legal fees later, former Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry has finally been exonerated from what many believe was a politically motivated criminal prosecution. The prosecution arose out of a threat Perry made to veto $7.5 million in funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s public integrity unit, unless DA Rosemary Lehmberg resigned over her notorious drinking and driving incident.

After being arrested with a bottle of vodka on her car seat in 2013, she was captured on video threatening to pull rank by calling the sheriff and bringing legal retaliation against the law enforcement officers who arrested her, saying, “Y’all are gonna be in jail, not me.” She kept telling the police that she was the district attorney and complained repeatedly that they had ruined her political career.

When Lehmberg wouldn’t resign, Perry pulled the funding, and her office responded by bringing charges against him in 2014. “Americans and Texans who have seen this agree with me that that is not an individual who is heading up an office that we can afford to fund,” he said. Legal experts consulted by the Austin American-Statesman thought the charges would be very difficult to sustain. One author of a handbook on Texas criminal law pointed out the problem of determining “at what point does a governmental official, with discretion about how the government operates and spends its money, cross the line into criminal conduct.”

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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