Video Surfaces of Drunk DA Who Accuses Perry of Abusing Power

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 08:23 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A police video has surfaced of a district attorney being arrested for drunk driving, a case that eventually led to Texas Gov. Rick Perry being indicted on abuse of power charges.

The video shows Democratic Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg acting belligerently to the arresting officers in Austin, Texas, after her car was stopped for driving erratically, The Washington Times reported.

She had to be physically restrained by two cops, and was found to have an open bottle of vodka in the vehicle. as well as a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

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Story continues below video.



The judge in the case called her behavior "deplorable" and sentenced her in April last year to 45 days in jail, of which she served 21 days.

Following the incident, Perry vowed to pull the funding for the integrity unit of Lehmberg’s office unless she resigned, saying that she was not fit to be in charge of the department, which investigates ethics violations and tax fraud cases.

After she refused to quit, Perry followed through with his promise and withdrew the funding for an agency that the Texas GOP had often claimed was basically engaged in politicized prosecutions, according to the Times.

The integrity unit indicted Tom DeLay in 2005, forcing the House majority leader to leave Congress. Last year, an appeals court threw out Delay’s conviction.

Perry’s action resulted in a heightening of tensions between Democrats and Republicans in Travis County. As part of the feud, a liberal advocacy group, Texans for Public Justice, a strong supporter of Lehmberg, persuaded a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether the governor’s threat was a criminal act.

Following the probe, Lehmberg has now turned the tables on Perry by seeking a grand jury indictment against him on charges he abused the powers of his office by misusing "government property, services or personnel," and by engaging in coercion, a crime similar to bribery.

Legal experts believe that the charges are unlikely to be upheld in court, according to a Bloomberg News editorial. Democrats in Texas may be hoping that it will at least wreck Perry’s chances of winning the GOP presidential nod in 2016.

But Bloomberg’s editorial board said, "This is more likely to rally Republicans to Perry’s side — earning him new supporters and donors — and to make Texas Democrats look as craven as the Republicans who are seeking to impeach President Barack Obama."

Waco, Texas, tea party leader Toby Marie Walker told the Times, "The indictment actually helps the governor. He will be made into a political hero; his polling will go up. It will only hurt if they can prove the DA isn’t a drunk."

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