Jan 30th - 11:44 am
Governor Rick Perry’s legal team is taking another shot at having his criminal indictments thrown out. His lawyers filed a third motion Friday asking a judge to void both abuse of power charges against him.
A judge ruled earlier this week to uphold the indictments, but also asked Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum to correct vagueness in the description of both counts. Perry’s motion said the abuse of official capacity charge is too vague and fails to allege an offense. They say the second charge, coercion of a public official, fails to mention the manner and means of the alleged threat; whether it was spoken, written or delivered through a third party.
Friday’s motion read:
“Both counts against Perry should be voided for violating the U.S. and state constitutions’ requirement that defendants be given adequate notice of the ‘nature and cause’ of the allegations so they can prepare a defense.”
Perry faces charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant over accusations he threatened to veto funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit after District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest and conviction. He then followed through on that threat with a line-item veto of Public Integrity Unit funding.
In addition fo Friday’s filing, Perry’s lawyers have also appealed Tuesday’s decision to the all-Republican third court of appeals in Austin.
Nov 18th - 5:26 pm
In an 18-page ruling Tuesday, District Judge Bert Richardson refused to throw out two felony indictments against Gov. Rick Perry. The motion involved in Tuesday’s ruling dealt with a technicality over whether or not special prosecutor Michael McCrum was properly sworn in. Another argument in this particular motion was that some paperwork was not properly filed.
Perry was indicted in August. He’s accused of threatening, then carrying out, a veto of funding for public corruption prosecutors after DA Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat leading the unit, wouldn’t resign following her DWI conviction.
The governor’s defense team has also questioned the case’s constitutionality. Judge Richardson, a Republican, has not yet ruled on those motions.
Sep 26th - 12:33 pm
Governor Rick Perry will not be required to attend an October 13 pretrial hearing. However, a judge today denied Perry’s request to be excused from all non-evidentiary pretrial hearings. Instead, Judge Bert Richardson said Gov. Perry would have to file separate motions raising the issue on a hearing-by-hearing basis.
Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum had argued that Gov. Perry’s presence should be required at all hearings, and offered to reschedule the October 13 hearing to accommodate the governor’s previously planned trip to Europe. The judge declined to reschedule that status conference hearing.
Gov. Perry is charged with two felonies stemming from a 2013 line-item budget veto. A grand jury found reason to indict Perry for abusing his power when he threatened to cut funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. Perry justified the threat – and the veto – saying the public lost confidence in District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s ability to lead the unit, following her drunk driving conviction.
Sep 24th - 6:07 pm
Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum filed a motion in Travis County Court Wednesday, arguing Gov. Rick Perry should be required to attend pretrial hearings.
The motion is in response to a request from Perry’s legal team that the governor be permitted to skip any hearing where evidence isn’t presented, beginning with a hearing scheduled for October 13. Perry’s lawyers assert Perry has “long standing plans” to be in Europe on that date. They further argue that it is common practice for the court to waive a defendant’s presence at all non-evidentiary pretrial hearings.
McCrum’s motion disputes that assertion, arguing that there are plenty of legitimate reasons the defendant would need to be present. “The defendant improperly suggests that there is a presumption that important issues will not be addressed,” the brief says. “The absence of an evidentiary hearing does not necessarily indicate that important substantive issues could arise at any court setting.”
McCrum also argued Perry should be denied special treatment. “Mr. Perry should not be treated any differently than any other citizen of the State of Texas who is charged with committing felony crimes and who is obligated to be at all court settings,” the brief says. “From carpenters to lawyers to judges accused of anything from tickets to federal felonies, all are expected to appear in court.”
McCrum did offer to reschedule the October 13 pretrial hearing for a date when the governor will be in town.
Perry is charged with two felonies stemming from a 2013 veto. A grand jury found that Perry abused his power when he threatened to cut funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit. Perry justified the threat — and the veto — saying the public lost confidence in DA Rosemary Lehmberg’s ability to lead the unit, following her drunk driving conviction.
Sep 8th - 1:06 pm
Governor Rick Perry’s attorneys are making a second attempt to get the indictment against him thrown out. They filed a First Motion to Quash and Dismiss in Travis County court, Monday. The 40-page brief makes many of the same claims as the previous Writ of Habeus Corpus, which they filed last month and has not yet been ruled on. Both briefs argue that the charges Perry faces are unconstitutional.
This latest motion differs from the Writ of Habeus Corpus, which challenges the authority of the court to hear the case. A judge could deny that motion but still rule in Perry’s favor on the motion to dismiss. If the judge refuses to dismiss the case based on the new motion, however, Perry is not entitled to an appeal.
Governor Perry faces two felony counts that he abused the power of his office by coercing a public official and that he misused government property. The charges stem from the 2013 legislative session when Gov. Perry threatened to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not step down following a drunk driving conviction. He cut the nearly $7.5 million when she refused.
Aug 29th - 3:44 pm
Gov. Rick Perry spent nearly $133,000 in state money on his legal defense – more than the $80,000 previously reported. The governor’s office confirmed to Capital Tonight on Friday that Gov. Perry enlisted three law firms to provide counsel during the grand jury proceedings. Gov. Perry paid $98,000 to Botsford & Roark, $15,000 to Baker Botts and $19,890 to attorney Jack Bacon.
Those fees were paid through appropriations designated for legal fees through the Texas Comptroller’s office. Perry was not required to request access to the funds, nor explain for what purpose they would be used.
“The firms worked with Governor’s Office attorneys to protect the governor’s interest during the grand jury process, including legal research, witness interviews, and dealing with the Court and the prosecutor on a broad range of issues,” said a Perry spokesperson.
Attorneys with two of those firms, David Botsford and Thomas Phillips, remain on Perry’s legal team. Jack Bacon, meanwhile, works for Keel Nassour LLP.
Gov. Perry is facing two felony charges stemming from his 2013 threat to cut funding to the Public Integrity Unit if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign following her drunken driving conviction. When Lehmberg refused, the governor followed through and pulled the funding. Perry’s attorneys have maintained that the governor was within his rights to veto the money and to issue a warning about a possible veto. Monday, they filed a writ of habeus corpus to have the indictment thrown out on the grounds that the charges are unconstitutional.
Perry is currently employing six attorneys, including Botsford and Phillips, as well as consultant Steve Schmidt. Moving forward, their fees are being paid for with campaign funds. The governor’s office has not said if Perry plans to repay the $133,000 already spent.
Aug 26th - 8:13 pm
In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we learned more about former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt’s role. Plus, we heard from two lieutenant governor candidates at a committee hearing on education.
While Politico reports Schmidt is officially named as part of the governor’s legal team, his role in McCain’s presidential run and his national profile indicate his hiring is more about the campaign trail than the courtroom. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on what his hiring indicates.
And the Texas oil and gas boom continues, with both positive and negative consequences coming down the pipeline. Republican state Rep. Jim Keffer joined us with an update on both.
Aug 26th - 11:59 am
Gov. Rick Perry has now added a seventh person to the team tasked with handling his indictment. Politico is reporting that Perry hired former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt. Schmidt is a big-dollar campaign strategist and was an instrumental member of McCain’s team during his presidential run. (You may recall he was played by Woody Harrelson in the HBO movie “Game Change.”)
Perry has already hired six high-powered attorneys to aid his defense. Houston trial lawyer Tony Buzbee is leading the team. He is joined by Austin attorney David Botsford, who represented Perry during the grand jury proceedings, and Ben Ginsburg, who is famous for his work with the Florida recount during the 2000 presidential elections.
Yesterday, Perry’s lawyers filed a motion to have the felony charges dismissed. The 60-page brief argues the charges are unconstitutional. Special prosecutor Michael McCrum, however, remains confident that Perry will go to trail.
Gov. Perry is charged with abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. The charges stem from the 2013 legislative session, when Perry warned he would cut funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not step down following a drunk driving conviction. Perry pointed to an embarrassing post-arrest video as grounds for his request. He followed through and slashed the $7.5 million when she refused to resign.
Perry’s attorneys claim his veto explanation falls under his first amendment right to free speech, as well as separation of powers in government. Attorneys also claim the statute being used to prosecute the governor for abuse of power is flawed.
Aug 25th - 8:46 pm
While Gov. Perry travels to New Hampshire, the race to succeed him continues. We heard why the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns have been mostly silent on the Perry indictment and what they’re focusing on instead.
ON THE AGENDA
The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on the day’s political news. Plus, we heard new testimony from the seismologist hired by the state’s oil and gas regulators.
Aug 25th - 1:54 pm
As promised, Gov. Rick Perry’s attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against him.
They filed the motion in district court Monday morning. At a pre-trial hearing Friday, Perry’s attorney, David Botsford said the motion would attack the constitutionality of the prosecution. He says the law being used to prosecute Perry is too vague and that it violates the state’s constitution.
Gov. Perry is charged with two felony counts: abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. The charges stem from his threat to cut funding for the Public Integrity Unit, headed by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. When Lehmberg refused to resign after her drunken driving conviction, the governor followed through on that threat and vetoed the funding.