Gov. Rick Perry is now in the clear after an appeals court tossed the second and final felony charge leveled against the former Texas governor.
Perry had been accused of using his veto pen to punish a group of ethics attorneys, after he declined to approve $7.5 million dollars for their program. The head of the program, a district attorney charged with enforcing ethics in office, was found guilty of driving under the influence before the bill came up, and refused Perry’s calls to resign, even though Perry insisted she was unfit for her job. Perry then got socked with a lawsuit over his veto, because of course he did.
Texas’ highest criminal court tossed the second and final felony charge against former Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday, likely ending a case the Republican says helped sink his short-lived 2016 presidential bid.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the abuse-of-power charge, which was filed after Perry threatened — and then carried out — a veto of state funding for a group of public corruption prosecutors after the Democratic head of the unit refused to resign.
In its 6-2 ruling, the court said veto power can’t be restricted by the courts and the prosecution of a veto “violates separations of powers.” A lower appeals court had dismissed the other charge, coercion by a public servant, in July.
Perry is pleased that the charges have been finally thrown out, said his attorney Tony Buzbee, who called it a “shame that it took that long to get something as weak and misguided as this to be dismissed.”
The ruling itself isn’t much of a surprise – it was a foregone conclusion once the prosecutor’s mugshot surface – but it’s still a big win for Perry’s legacy, and against Texas liberals who tried to destroy it. It’s also significant that the court went out of its way to explain that their ruling wasn’t simply Perry-centric, that the government was divided into branches for a reason, and that the courts could not punish a governor for using the powers granted to him, regardless of his motivation in doing so.
It is sad, though, that the appeal was decided to late. Perry might have had a better shot at being President if the indictment hadn’t been hanging over his head.