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Perry Makes Third Try to Quash Indictment

AUSTIN (CN) - Former Governor Rick Perry on Friday made a third attempt to have his two-count felony indictment thrown out, this time citing prosecutors' alleged deficiencies "of form and substance."

Perry's third motion to quash and set aside the indictment claims both counts are unconstitutionally vague.

Perry was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on two felony counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

The August 2014 indictment came after Perry followed through on threats to pull funding from Travis County District Attorney Mary Lehmberg's ethics investigation unit if she did not resign after a drunk-driving arrest.

When Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused, Perry issued a line-item veto of Senate Bill 1, from June 2013, stripping her office's Public Integrity Unit of more than $7 million that had been earmarked by the Legislature.

Perry's attorneys claim count one should be quashed because it fails to allege an offense and does not specify how the former governor obtained physical control of state property.

"Count I is vague, uncertain and indefinite and fails to allege any facts or act reflecting the gravamen of the alleged offense and the manner and means of the commission of any offense," attorney David Botsford wrote in the 9-page document.

The motion states that it is "legally impossible for Governor Perry to have 'misused' any money because, as a matter of law, he never had 'custody' or 'possession'" of it.

Perry claims the second count, coercion of a public servant, should be dismissed because it does not allege "the manner and means of the alleged 'threat.'"

On Tuesday, Visiting Judge Bert Richardson, of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, denied Perry's motion to quash and his pretrial application for writ of habeas corpus, which challenged the constitutionality of the charges.

Perry's legal team immediately filed notice that they will appeal that ruling to the Austin-based, all-Republican, Third Court of Appeals.

Perry claims that his actions were in line with the Texas governor's veto authority and says he would make the same veto decision again. He continues to mull a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

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