Texas Governor Rick Perry has hired a high-profile Austin defense attorney to represent him in a criminal investigation into whether withholding money from a Travis County district attorney’s office broke state laws relating to bribery, coercion, or the abuse of authority.
The investigation stems from an April 12, 2013 incident in which Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level three times over the legal limit.
She apologized — in the form of an “open letter” from jail — but she refused to resign her position as District Attorney.
Gov. Perry responded by vetoing $7.5 million in budget item to the Public Integrity Unit, which is housed in Lehmberg’s office. He did so, Perry claimed, because the District Attorney’s arrest resulted in her having “lost the public’s confidence.”
David Botsford, the lawyer Gov. Perry hired, said Sunday night that “[t]he matter at hand pertains to the power of the governor to issue vetoes as allowed under the Texas Constitution. I have been retained to ensure that [the special prosecutor] receives all the facts, which will show that the governor’s veto was carried out in both the spirit and the letter of the law.”
The special prosecutor investigating the case, Michael McCrum, said in an interview with the Austin American-Statesman that “I cannot elaborate on what exactly is concerning me, but I can tell you I am very concerned about certain aspects of what happened here.”
[Image via n3tel on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed]