AUSTIN (KXAN) — A state appeals court ruled Friday against one of two counts in the indictment against former Governor Rick Perry.
Perry was indicted nearly a year ago on a count of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant centering around his veto of state funding for the public integrity unit. The PIU was housed under the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg who was arrested for DWI. Perry called for Lehmberg to step down following her arrest and threatened to veto funding for the PIU if she did not resign.
The higher court found a problem with the second count of the indictment, which alleges Perry coerced public servant Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County District Attorney.
According to Friday’s ruling, Perry is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech and thus the charge that he coerced Lehmberg was tossed.
“One down, one to go,” Tony Buzbee, the lead attorney on Perry’s all star defense team, told KXAN in a statement Friday. He went on to say the remaining count faced by the former governor is a misdemeanor “and raises the question of whether the exercise of a veto can ever be illegal in the absence of bribery.”
Buzbee continued saying in his eyes, the case is nearly closed.
“This thing is hanging by a thread, and in my view is very near to being over,” Buzbee wrote.
The case will continue against Perry as courts work through the arguments presented by his legal team.
More on this breaking story thorough out the day.