The Manzo Blog

Now Drunk With Power, Texas D.A. Indicts Governor Rick Perry

By Louis Manzo, August 19, 2014

The specious indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry last week should send shivers down the spines of all American’s. It accentuates the point trumpeted in Ruthless Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie—prosecutors on all levels need legitimate oversight, and our current system of Justice, especially at the federal level, is out of control, remaining an endangerment to the liberty of all Americans.

Perry’s predicament parallels that of so many of Governor Chris Christie’s victims highlighted throughout the book—victims of unhindered prosecutorial misconduct, typically, the result of a prosecutor’s political or personal agenda.

In Perry’s case, a Texas District Attorney’s Office in Travis County used its awesome power and a grand jury to get even and mete out political retribution. The Travis County District Attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, was previously arrested for driving while drunk [three times over the legal limit] and then abused officers arresting her so much that she had to be placed in physical restraints—she was literally spitting at cops and frothing at the mouth. A prominent news entity called her a “national embarrassment.’

Despite sober calls for her resignation, Lehmberg resisted. Her failure to depart her office forced Perry’s hands as Governor—he vetoed an appropriation of monies in the state budget for an office that Lehmberg oversaw: the Office of Public Integrity. He gave her prior warning. Now drunk with the power of her office, Lehmberg saw the veto action as extortion and indicted the Governor for using his veto. The veto is a constitutional power vested to the Texas Governor.

Lehmberg’s power buzz was short-lived. Given her irrational legal conclusion, currently being panned nationally by legal scholars of all political persuasions, it’s not at all that hard to to imagine a cache of empty liquor bottles stacked on the book shelves in her office, blocking access to volumes of Texas law books and a copy of the Texas Constitution, screaming out to this injustice.. The prediction here is that a Texas court will toss the indictment at pretrial, unless the judge is inebriated too.

Nonetheless, Perry, a 2016 Presidential aspirant, will wear the cloak of that indictment for the rest of his political career and life.
Sadly, as reprehensible as Lehmberg’s conduct is, she is not alone. In fact, a United States’ Congressional committee, examining prosecutorial misconduct warned the American people that “the Justice department had been derelict in failing to address the issue of political prosecutions and reassuring the American people that law enforcement is impartial and fair.”

Incidents like those involving Lehmberg, though they pale in comparison to the prosecutorial misconduct reported on in Ruthless Ambition, are rampant in prosecutor’s offices throughout the nation, and have been reported extensively by USA Today investigative reporter Brad Heath.
Unfortunately, today’s local media does not see the importance of this unchecked conduct—perhaps content in not wanting to burn leaks and sources of news tips from inside prosecutor’s offices. Much remains underreported.
That, unfortunately, is a sobering thought for all of us.
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