As Gov. Rick Perry's coercion trial moves forward, one state lawmaker is asking whether or not the state should be footing the bill for Perry's defense.
State Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, has asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to provide his legal opinion on the matter.
“A constitutional officer normally is able to hire a lawyer and use tax dollars, but normally it’s something that’s done in their official capacity," Deshotel said. "A person doesn’t get indicted by operating in their official capacity -- and of course there is no indictment here -- but nothing you can do in your official capacity would be considered criminal, either.”
Deshotel is also asking if Perry’s choice of attorney -- David Botsford -- needed to be approved first by the attorney general's office. According the Dallas Morning News, Botsford’s fees are $450 per hour during the grand jury’s investigation of the governor’s veto.
Deshotel said with all the cuts already facing the state budget, Perry should turn to his wealthy supporters to pay the attorney fees.
Deshotel said he has spoken to Republicans and said they are equally concerned about the answer to this legal question. A special grand jury selected for this case continues to investigate whether to officially indict Perry.