Jury seated in abuse of power cases


by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @JessicaV_KVUE


Posted on September 6, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 6 at 3:52 PM

AUSTIN -- The grand jury selection has been completed in cases against Governor Rick Perry and Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

A panel of 12 with two alternates were selected from a pool of 80 potential jurors around 3 p.m. Friday. A special investigation by KVUE News and the Austin American-Statesman revealed those jurors will be charged with determining whether Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg and Texas Governor Rick Perry abused their power.

The case stems from Lehmberg’s DWI arrest and conviction in April. A former rival for the DA’s office filed a complaint saying Lehmberg may have abused her title as district attorney following her arrest.

In jailhouse recordings she’s heard dropping the names of both Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton and Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Lehmberg pleaded guilty and served time in jail. Calls for her resignation grew.

Texas Governor Rick Perry threatened to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit out of the Travis County DA’s Office unless Lehmberg stepped down. When Lehmberg refused, Perry cut millions of state funds to the PIU.

A group called Texans for Justice filed a complaint, arguing Perry abused his power in making those cuts. The grand jury will consider both cases. It could ultimately hand down criminal indictments to both Lehmberg and Perry.

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