AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas judge said Thursday he plans to have a special prosecutor review allegations that Gov. Rick Perry abused the powers of his office and broke the law over a veto that cut funding for state public corruption investigators.
Judge Robert Richardson said he expects to select someone in the coming days to look at a two-page complaint filed by a watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice. The special prosecutor could quickly deem the complaint meritless or decide it warrants further investigation.
Perry's office denies wrongdoing.
The complaint stems from the April drunken-driving arrest of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, whose office houses the Public Integrity Unit that is the state's criminal ethics arm. Its high-profile cases include the 2010 prosecution of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and an ongoing investigation into the state's $3 billion cancer research agency.
Lehmberg pleaded guilty after her arrest and served half of a 45-day jail sentence. But she refused calls from Republicans to resign, including from Perry, who publicly said he would eliminate $3.7 million in annual state funding if she did not step down.
Lehmberg stayed in office, and Perry vetoed the money in June.