Texas Governor Perry Indicted for Abuse of Power — Could Face Imprisonment

(Reuters) – Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Texas on two counts of abuse of power and coercion over threats he made last year where he was seen as trying to force a local prosecutor to resign, news reports said on Friday.

Perry, seen as a possible Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race, was charged with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official, a misdemeanor, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

A probe was launched last year when Perry tried to veto $7.5 million in funding for an integrity unit that is part of the Travis County District Attorney’s office. The move was seen as trying to force out county District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

Perry’s office was not immediately available for comment.

A partial copy of the copy of the indictment, dated Friday, was posted on the website of local broadcaster KXAN.

“The first count of abuse of official capacity. It basically charges that on the day of the veto in 2013 that Governor Perry intentionally or knowingly misused government property that had come into his custody or control,” special prosecutor Michael McCrum was quoted as saying by the broadcaster.

( Editing by Sandra Maler)