Texas Governor Rick Perry has hired a criminal lawyer for his defense in a prosecutor’s probe, Bloomberg has reported. The prosecutors allege Perry violated state law when he vetoed funding for the state ethics office.
Lucy Nashed, Perry’s spokeswoman, confirmed this information, saying that the governor hired attorney David Botsford to ensure the special prosecutor receives the facts in this matter. “This veto was made in accordance with the veto power afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution,” she said in an email, quoted by the Lawyer Herald.
According to Bloomberg, Rick Perry, who failed in his bid to be the Republican candidate in the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections, attempted to remove Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg from her post following the latter’s arrest over drunk driving charges last year. Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused to step down despite the fact that she has pleaded guilty in court and completed her prison sentence.
It was Watchdog group Texans for Public Justice who filed the lawsuit against Perry, claiming that the Texas governor eliminated $7.3 million in funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the state, which Lehmberg heads. The state government unit is a primary vehicle for investigating corruption at agencies and among state government officials, and the plaintiffs believed that there was more to the veto, as Perry allegedly wanted to shut down a probe over the purportedly favoritism of public grants awarded by one of Perry’ signature corporate subsidy programs, the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.
In a written decision, Perry explained his decision in June last year, saying “despite the otherwise good work of the Public Integrity Unit’s employees, I cannot in good conscience support continued state funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence.”