Grand Jury Named In Perry Coercion Trial

Apr 15, 2014

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Senior State Judge Bert Richardson from San Antonio has helped select 12 jurors in Travis County and two alternates to preside over a special grand jury tasked with determining whether to indict Gov. Rick Perry on criminal charges. 

Perry threatened to veto the $7.5 million budget for the state’s public integrity unit if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign from her position following a drunk driving conviction in fall 2013. Lehmberg's office heads the public integrity unit, which investigates state agencies.

Lehmberg did not resign and Perry followed through on his threat.

This is Perry just before the veto:

"Travis County is going to have to  make a decision on whether they keep a district attorney who obviously has some real problems from the standpoint of -- people that have looked at the video will come to the same conclusions that most folks, that that was some pretty inappropriate activity.” -- Gov. Rick Perry

The grand jury is considering charges ranging from coercion to bribery. Perry has selected Austin attorney David Botsford to represent him in court and Craig McDonald with the group Texans for Public Justice, the group that brought the case against Perry, said that representation as a good sign.

“I think they see this as very serious," McDonald said. "The attorney that he hired has a reputation of being a well-regarding criminal defense attorney. I think it means the governor is being prudent.”

McDonald said most grand juries serve a six-month term, meeting once a week in a closed-door setting where evidence is submitted without any type of cross-examination. The jury then decides if one or more felonies was committed.