A grand jury is now being assembled to investigate and consider charges against Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, the September 5 San Antonio Express News reported.
The assembling of the grand jury will be handled by San Antonio Judge Bert Richardson. Because the grand jury will be working on both the Lehmberg and Perry cases, two investigations that were previously entirely separate are effectively being merged.
The special prosecutor for the Lehmberg case, former Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner, was appointed in late June (June 29 Brazos-College Station Eagle). Turner was appointed by San Antonio Judge David Peeples. The appointment of the Perry special prosecutor–former prosecutor Michael McCrum–did not occur until mid-August. Thus, the Lehmberg investigation had been proceeding for more than two months without a grand jury.
Significantly, it was only after the appointment of the Perry special prosecutor that a grand jury was made available to the two proceedings. Moreover, it was the judge who appointed the Perry special prosecutor–not the one who appointed the Lehmberg special prosecutor–who took the initiative to assemble a grand jury.
The Lehmberg complaint was filed by a former competing candidate against her, Rick Reed. The allegation is that Lehmberg obstructed justice in connection with her drunk driving arrest earlier this year to which she pleaded guilty. Perry’s prosecution was started by a complaint from a citizens’ watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice. TPJ alleged that Perry may have violated one or more of four criminal statutes by first demanding the resignation of Lehmberg and then, when she did not resign, vetoing the state funding of the Travis County Public Integrity Unit, in retaliation.
Gov. Perry’s veto statement expressly stated that the reason for his veto was Lehmberg’s failure to resign.