Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Experts Skeptical of Perry Indictment

Sahil Kapur reports on legal experts skeptical of the indictment of Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) on Talking Points Memo.

Susan Klein, a professor at UT-Austin School of Law, torched the indictment. "I think the Perry indictment is tragic. It makes my beloved city of Austin a national laughingstock. I am embarrassed to be a liberal Democrat. I consider Perry's behavior ungentlemanly but certainly not illegal," she told TPM. "I see nothing in the indictment that would lead me to believe there is anything for the government to prove. I think the statutes were designed to prevent bribery, extortion or fraud, not use of the Governor's veto authority."

Many legal experts say the case against Perry is weak. Would a grand jury really send a governor to jail for exercising his veto power? The two-page indictment is vague and leaves many questions unanswered about what the grand jury was told and what legal avenues the prosecution intends to pursue.

"On the more serious charge, the abuse of official authority, I really am not sure what the theory is," said Jennifer Laurin, a professor at UT-Austin School of Law. "It's hard to know, looking at the indictment, what the state might be seeking to prove."

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University School of Law, said that if Perry's actions make him a criminal, "a wide array of official actions and public comments could be criminalized."

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