A specially-appointed grand jury is being seated in two unique cases; a criminal coercion complainant against Governor Rick Perry and separate case against Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg.
Although the cases are connected in some respects, they will have separate trial dates if they make it past the grand jury. Craig McDonald, with Texans for Public Justice, who filed the complainant against Republican Governor Rick Perry for his threat and veto of the budget of State’s Public Integrity Unit, says having a grand jury selected is a good sign.
“I think this prosecutor probably retains the right to say, 'no thanks judge I don’t need this grand jury because I don’t think there’s any merit here.' That’s been our fear along, but so far we’re happy because it’s moving in the right direction," McDonald says.
McDonald alleges that Governor Perry used the power of his office to coerce Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to step down after she was convicted of a DWI. The same Grand Jury will also consider a separate obstruction case against Lehmberg for her actions during the time of that DWI arrest. Austin-based attorney Rick Reed filed the complainant.
Reed says, “The manner in which the grand jurors are being selected is the same way jurors for criminal trials are selected here in Travis County--namely summons being sent out.”
The citizen-Grand Jury for both cases is expected to fully selected by Friday.