US: Anti-gay governor Rick Perry indicted for abuse of power
Texas governor Rick Perry, who recently compared homosexuality to alcoholism, has been indicted by a grand jury for abuse of power.
In June, Perry had said: “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
The failed 2012 Republican presidential candidate is now facing a charge of abuse of official capacity, which carries a prison sentence of five to 99 years.
He is accused of vetoing $7.2 million (£4.3m) in funding to a Public Integrity Unit investigating corruption, after its Democratic state prosecutor Rosemary Lehmburg – convicted of drink driving in 2013 – rejected calls to resign.
The indictment means that Perry will now face a further trial, likely disrupting his attempts to run for president again.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum said: “I took into account the fact that we’re talking about a governor of a state — and a governor of the state of Texas, which we all love.
“Obviously that carries a lot of importance. But when it gets down to it, the law is the law.”
Perry’s attorney David L. Botsford claimed: This clearly represents political abuse of the court system and there is no legal basis in this decision.
“Today’s action, which violates the separation of powers outlined in the Texas Constitution, is nothing more than an effort to weaken the constitutional authority granted to the office of Texas governor, and sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a grand jury to punish the exercise of a lawful and constitutional authority afforded to the Texas governor.”