The final felony charge against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was dismissed Wednesday by the state’s top criminal court, allowing the two-time Republican presidential hopeful to be spared a trial and possible jail time, the Associated Press reported.
The abuse-of-power charge — stemming from Perry’s 2013 threat to not give funding to public corruption prosecutors in Travis County in an attempt to force the Democratic District Attorney out of office — was ordered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to be voided, a little over six months after a coercion of a public official charge was dismissed. The appellate court on Wednesday affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the charge should be thrown out, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
After being indicted in 2014, Perry appealed the case and called the case politically motivated. Perry dropped out of the race for the presidency in September, while the case was playing out, after an attempt to vindicate his failed run from 2012.
Perry vetoed the $7.5 million due in funding to Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s Public Integrity Unit after she was arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated. Perry’s defense argued, among other things, that Perry couldn’t be prosecuted for issuing a veto, which was authorized to him by the Texas Constitution, but prosecutors said he can’t use veto power to harm Lehmberg.
“I’m here today because I believe in the rule of law. And I’m here today because I did the right thing,” Perry said to a crowd of reporters after the charges were filed, the American-Statesman reported. “I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being, and we will prevail.”
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) February 24, 2016
Perry bowed out early from the 2016 race, after only 100 days in the running, CNN reported. His financial supporters had stopped supporting him and moved on to his GOP opponents.