A Travis County Grand Jury this afternoon indicted Gov. Rick Perry on charges in connection with his threat to use the arrest of the Travis County District Attorney to pressure the county to abolish the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates and prosecutes official state government misconduct, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Public Integrity Unit has long been a thorn in the side of Texas Republicans, who have long felt that the largely Democratic County uses the unit to specifically harass Republicans with politically motivated investigations.
The first count, official oppression by a public servant, is a First Degree Felony, the most serious level in the state penal code, and is punishable by up to 99 years in prison
After DA Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested on a drunk driving charge, Perry vetoed a legislative appropriation for the unit, demanding that Lehmberg resign. Democrats claimed that veto amounted to improperly pressuring an elected official.
The Texas Democratic Party immediately call on Perry to resign.
"This indictment today shows a failure of Governor Perry to follow the law," Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said.
The unit has snared, among others, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Mary Jane Wiley, Perry's attorney, said the veto was legal.
"We will continue to defend the governor's Constitutional and legal action," Wiley said.