A Texas appeals court dismissed one of two criminal charges Friday against Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.
The court agreed with the argument from Perry’s legal team that a Texas law concerning “coercion of a public servant” violated Perry’s First Amendment freedom of speech rights. It did, however, allow a charge related to abuse of power, to move forward.
“The statute on which the ‘coercion of a public servant’ is based, as written, and as we are bound to construe it, violates the First Amendment and, accordingly, cannot be enforced,” the appeals court ruled according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Perry is accused of threatening to veto funding the Travis County Public Integrity Unit unless a district attorney, who received a drunken driving conviction, resigned.
The attorney did not resign, so Perry vetoed the funding.
“The Americans in this country are looking for a president that will stand up and do what’s right and that’s exactly what Perry did,” said Tony Buzbee, lead counsel for Perry.
Texans for Rick Perry released a statement calling the ruling a clear step towards having the second charge, a misdemeanor, dismissed.
“We believe once we put that issue in the front of the Court of Appeals, they will throw it out on their face and Governor Perry will go on about his business,” Buzbee said.