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Rick Perry’s Abuse of Power Case Officially Dismissed

Following a Court of Criminal Appeals decision that all but ended the case, the special prosecutor who secured the grand jury indictment against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday said he will not pursue an amended indictment. The presiding judge, Bert Richardson, signed a dismissal of the case.

Perry’s legal team continues to say the case should have never happened.

“I told all of you from the beginning it would ultimately be dismissed,” Perry’s lead lawyer, Tony Buzbee, told reporters today. “It was dismissed today because it lacked merit on both facts and the law. I just wish it would have been dismissed sooner,” he said.

Buzbee also said he asked the judge to provide his team with a transcript of the grand jury proceedings. “We feel like Mr. McCrum must have said some things that are probably actionable to that grand jury based on the people we know testified and the facts as we know that and we’re going to explore that. So although this criminal case is over, our investigation into how this came about certainly is not,” Buzbee said.

Meanwhile, special prosecutor Michael McCrum said he is 100 percent confident he handled the case appropriately. He said the law guards the confidentiality of those proceedings for good reason.

“Mr. Buzbee should know that,” McCrum said. “I don’t know, he handles snake bites and car wreck cases.”

McCrum also said he considered keeping the case going by amending the indictment because he believes Perry committed a crime.

But he said he won’t because the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in the case ‘muddied’ the law.

“Am I sore about the fact that the law now is so muddied that it makes it difficult to prosecute any public official for their acts of threats and their use of power in an inappropriate way? Yeah, I’m sore about that. I’m disappointed. I’m upset,” McCrum said.

The case stems from the former governor’s 2013 threat to veto funding for a unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office unless its head step down following a drunken driving conviction.

She didn’t, and Perry’s attorneys said the former governor was within his rights to follow through on vetoing the funding.

Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint saying Perry went too far. The complaint led to the 2014 indictment of Perry. He was accused of coercion of a public servant and abuse of official capacity.

A lower appeals court tossed out the coercion charge last year. Then in February, the Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the remaining charge.

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Digest | April 4

Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

The U.S. Supreme Court handed Texas a victory today. It upheld the state’s system of drawing legislative voting districts based on everyone who lives there, not just registered voters. On the show tonight, we’ll bring you reaction from Texas leaders on both sides of the issue, including one of the plaintiffs in the case.

 

Plus, all eyes are on Wisconsin ahead of that state’s primary Tuesday. For the Republicans running for President, the Badger State could play a huge role in their paths going forward. Our LeAnn Wallace takes a look at what the Cruz campaign strategy involves in order to win the lion’s share of the state’s 42 delegates.

 

Tune to Capital Tonight on Time Warner Cable News at 7 for these stories and more. We also welcome Charles O’Neal to the show as our guest. He’s the president of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce. He’ll discuss what his organization is doing to boost black-owned businesses in the state.

 

 

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Texas Districts

Texas was handed a victory Monday morning. The United States Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold the state’s system of drawing legislative voting districts based on everyone who lives there, not just registered voters. Two rural Texans challenged the state’s method arguing their votes were diluted.

But the high court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument saying representatives serve all residents, “not just those eligible or registered to vote.”

The decision excited Texas Democrats the most. That’s because it likely boosts the voting power of the state’s booming Latino population.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton became an unlikely ally of Democrats on the issue.

He supports his state’s system for drawing districts and applauded the justices’ ruling.

 

 

We’ve compiled a list of state leaders reaction to the decision:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today released the following statement regarding the 8-0 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Evenwel v. Abbott:

“We are pleased with the unanimous decision of the Court.  My office is committed to defending the Constitution and ensuring the state legislature, representing the citizens, continues to have the freedom to ensure voting rights consistent with the Constitution.”

 

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Today, in a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court reaffirms that every single person in America deserves a voice. Our elected representatives should be responsive to every one’s needs, not just those that can bring them to power. Every person matters.

“This is a victory for our democracy and every Texas family. For decades, the democratic principle of ‘one person, one vote,’ has ensured everyone in America, regardless of who they are or where they live, is entitled to equal representation. Evenwel threatened a returned to darker days when certain people were easily left behind by their government.

“Texas Democrats know that our democracy is stronger when everyone has a seat at the table. To strengthen our communities we should be encouraging more people to join us. We pray that Tea Party Republicans finally drop their efforts to make it harder to vote, silence the voice of voters, and weaken the power of Texas’ diverse communities.”

 

Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle statement:

“Today’s unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court turned back a direct attack on one-person, one-vote. It is an enormous victory for Democratic and American values.  “It’s no accident that this case originated in Texas. The forces that filed the suit and pursued it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court reflect the dark and dangerous view that power should be concentrated in the hands of a very few. Keep in mind that current Texas leaders adopted and have spent millions of dollars defending discriminatory redistricting and Voter ID laws. Their recent actions have created an environment that encourages and accommodates those who hold basic civil and voting rights in contempt.”
 

State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, Chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for voting rights, and I am proud that MALC’s work helped the High Court reach this important decision.

“‘One person, one vote’ is a cornerstone of our democracy. It is simple: when we ensure equal representation, we ensure that every single voice matters.

“Eliminating non-voters from the drawing of election lines would have had a devastating effect on Texas and on the Latino community. While we cheer today, voting rights remain under attack in America. It is time for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act. It is time for Texas to make it easier to vote, not harder.”

 

ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro said:

“This decision is a victory for the principle of representative democracy. There is a reason that every state has chosen to apportion its state legislative districts based on total population. Government actions affect everyone, not just eligible voters. The argument that states are forbidden from treating everyone equally for redistricting purposes never made any constitutional sense and was properly rejected today by a unanimous Supreme Court.”

 

Read the full decision here:

http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2016/04/4/scotus-rejects-evenwel-v-abbott.html

Daily Digest | March 31


Our daily digest is a mid-day update on the stories we’re following in Texas politics today. Here’s what we’re watching:

 

State lawmakers have been busy this week holding interim committee hearings. Today we checked in on the joint hearing of the International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Agriculture and Livestock committees exploring the impact that an open US-Cuba trading relationship would have on Texas.  Hear from business owners on Capital Tonight at 7pm.

 

Black business groups say the state can do more to provide better opportunities for black entrepreneurs.

A 2014 survey done by the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce says there are less than 10-percent of black owned businesses in the state.

And black-owned businesses on average employ only ten people.

Today, the group hosted Governor Abbott for their Black Business Day event at the State Capitol.

They say Abbott has been more responsive to working with black business owners compared to former Governor Rick Perry.

“I want to see the state of Texas succeed, that is my goal. The state of Texas is not going to succeed if anybody gets left behind,” Governor Abbott said.

Abbott said to create that success, he also wants to keep raising high school and college graduation rates among black students in the state.

 

We are also taking a closer look at Higher Education in the state tonight. Our guest is Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes. Hear why he thinks Texas isn’t doing enough to prepare kids for college and what he wants to see put in place.

 

 

We’re Back!!!!!

The Capital Tonight Blog took a little hiatus while the CT team underwent a transition period over the past couple of months. But we’re back, fully staffed and ready to keep you up to date on the latest political developments throughout the day as they happen. We also hope you’ll join us weeknights at 7pm on Time Warner Cable News for our 30 minute show that features in-depth stories and analysis from our expert contributors.

You can also keep up with us on Twitter:
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Karina Kling, Capital Tonight Anchor
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Jillian Ament, Capital Tonight Producer
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David Cawton, Capital Tonight Reporter
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LeAnn Wallace, Capital Tonight Reporter
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Ted Delisi, Republican Political Analyst

@TedDelisi

Harold Cook, Democratic Political Analyst

@HCookAustin

Harvey Kronberg, The Quorum Report

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