Legal Costs Add Up on Both Sides of Perry's Case
While former Texas Gov. Rick Perry waits to see if a judge will toss out the indictment against him, legal costs are starting to add up for both sides in the case over his threat to veto funding for a state watchdog unit.
While former Texas Gov. Rick Perry waits to see if a judge will toss out the indictment against him, legal costs are starting to add up for both sides in the case over his threat to veto funding for a state unit that investigates public corruption.
Taxpayers have paid special prosecutors Mike McCrum and David Gonzalez almost $110,000 for their work on the case so far, according to the Travis County Attorney's Office. Since September, the county has paid McCrum and Gonzalez $250 per hour (McCrum was previously making $300 an hour; Gonzalez was brought on in September).
Meanwhile, Perry has dipped into his campaign chest to spend more than $1 million since August on his legal defense, according to his latest campaign finance reports. Close to 40 percent of the $1.1 million Perry has spent on his defense went to Tony Buzbee, a high-profile Houston attorney.
The case is not expected to head to trial any time soon. Lawyers are waiting for Judge Bert Richardson to rule on an attempt by Perry's lawyers to get the indictment thrown out on constitutional grounds. Perry’s lawyers previously tried to get the case thrown out on a technicality, arguing that McCrum was not sworn in properly. In November, Richardson ruled against Perry's team on that matter.
A grand jury indicted Perry last year after he threatened to veto funding for the state public integrity unit unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned. He said she was unfit to serve after a drunken driving conviction.
She did not resign, and in 2013 he withheld $7.5 million in state funds for the unit. Perry was indicted in August on one count of abuse of official capacity and one count of coercion of a public official.
Perry has said that he stands behind his veto.
Disclosure: Tony Buzbee has been a major donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
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