Charges against Rick Perry dismissed in abuse of power case

Gov. Perry weighs in on indictment case
Gov. Perry weighs in on indictment case

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Story highlights

  • The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday dismissed charges against Rick Perry that alleged the former Texas governor abused his power while in office
  • Perry, a two-time former GOP presidential candidate, was indicted by a grand jury in August 2014

Washington (CNN)The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday dismissed charges against Rick Perry that alleged the former Texas governor abused his power while in office.

Perry, a two-time former GOP presidential candidate, was indicted by a grand jury in August 2014 after he first threatened and then carried out a veto that defunded a statewide public integrity unit in an attempt to force a district attorney's resignation.
The case examined the state's separation-of-power provision in the Texas Constitution and a governor's veto power under the "abuse of official capacity" statute. Perry originally faced two indictments, but one was dismissed by a lower court in July.
    "I'm proud to say the court upheld the law and the right of any person to speak freely without the threat of legal intimidation," the former Texas governor said during a press conference.
    Perry fought the indictment, claiming that the counts were "unconstitutional."
    "The court's decision today proves that this indictment was nothing less than a baseless political attack, and an assault on constitutional powers," he said.
    Perry went on to claim the indictment was used to push a political agenda.
    "I think the people of this state do not want rogue prosecutors to use the court to get done what they can't get done at the ballot box," he said.
    The dismissal supported this claim, stating, "public servants have a First Amendment right to engage in expression, even threats, regarding their official duties."
    The former Texas governor suspended his 2016 presidential campaign in September. Perry admitted the indictment brought unwanted attention to his campaign.
    "I think anyone who has paid attention to presidential races, saw this indictment had a negative effect on our candidacy," Perry said Wednesday.
    Perry served as the governor of Texas for 15 years, where he was the longest-serving governor in the history of the state.