Texas Appeals Court Clears Rick Perry of Abuse-of-Power Felony Charge

Rick Perry spent $2 million on top defense lawyers defending himself

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas' highest criminal court tossed the second and final felony charge against former Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday, likely ending a case the Republican says helped sink his short-lived 2016 presidential bid.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the abuse-of-power charge, which was filed after Perry threatened — and then carried out — a veto of state funding for a group of public corruption prosecutors after the Democratic head of the unit refused to resign.

A lower appeals court dismissed the other charge, coercion by a public servant, in July.

Perry left office in January 2015 while facing a felony indictment handed down the previous summer by a grand jury in Austin, a liberal bastion in otherwise mostly deeply conservative Texas.

Perry made just one court appearance in the case, which stems from 2013, when Perry publicly threatened to veto $7.5 million in state funding for Public Integrity Unit prosecutors. His move came after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who headed the investigative group, rebuffed Perry's calls to resign after she was convicted and jailed for drunken driving