Rick Perry's Criminal Case Officially Dismissed
Judge Bert Richardson, who presided over the case in Travis County and now serves on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, signed an order dismissing the abuse of power indictment related to a 2013 veto threat.
Richardson said the case case had not been a pleasant experience, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “I didn’t ask for this job and I didn’t want it,” he said, according to the Express-News.
The case against the longest-serving governor in Texas history centered on a threat to veto $7.5 million in state funds for the public integrity unit of the Travis County district attorney's office, and questions about whether he abused his authority — allegations that he had called a "baseless political attack." The unit was charged with investigating and prosecuting state corruption.
After Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in 2013, Perry threatened to veto state funding for the integrity unit unless she first resigned. She declined to step down, and Perry vetoed the funding.
Perry and his lawyers successfully argued in his appeal that he was acting within the powers of a governor and did nothing criminal.
Tony Buzbee, an attorney for Perry, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor in the case, said he still believed that Perry committed a crime — and had drafted and printed copies of a motion for an amended indictment. But on Tuesday afternoon, he decided to halt the effort, saying the high court's ruling had "muddied" the criminal statute at issue.
“It was our position, and our feeling that the law had been so muddied that it was not the just thing to do with any citizen," he said.
This is a developing story and will be updated.