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Texas Man’s Ethics Complaint Against Gov. Perry Led To Indictments

Jack Fink, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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FORT WORTH, Texas (CBS 11 NEWS) –  Craig McDonald is the man who got the legal case rolling against Governor Perry.  “The Governor had violated the law when he threatened the district attorney.”

McDonald says he and his organization, Texans for Public Justice, closely watch money and Texas politics.

He filed an ethics complaint against the Governor in June of last year.

Last Friday, a Travis County grand jury agreed and indicted Governor Perry on two felonies, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

Governor Perry formally submitted a not guilty plea in court on the charges Wednesday.

He also waived his appearance at his arraignment Friday morning.

Last year, the Governor called for Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, to resign after she was arrested on dui.

He also threatened to veto funding for the public integrity unit she supervised if she didn’t.

Lehm‎berg refused, and Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding.

McDonald says, “He used it as a club over Rosemary Lehmberg’s head.”

Governor Perry has attacked the indictment, and gone on the offensive.

After he was booked-in and fingerprinted on the charges Tuesday, Governor Perry told a crowd of supporters, “We will prevail.  This indictment is fundamentally a political act that seeks to achieve at the courthouse what could not be achieved at the ballot box.”

One of the grand jurors in the case, Scott Hillman told a Houston Newspaper that he felt Governor Perry was laughing at the process and at them as grand jurors.  He says‎ he and the others on the panel took their jobs very seriously.  Hillman declined an interview with me, and stated he said what he said to get it out there.”

McDonald says, “We think he was guilty on the day we filed the complaint.”

When asked if he thought Governor Perry should go to jail if convicted, McDonald replied, “That’s not for me to say.”

McDonald says he and his organization have received more death threats in the past couple of weeks then during their previous 16 years.

He says doesn’t see the case involving Governor Perry ending anytime soon.

Follow CBS 11 Reporter Jack Fink on Twitter: @cbs11jack

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