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Grand jury reconvenes in Perry veto case

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The grand jury investigating Governor Rick Perry returned to court Friday—and three of his top aides joined them

The aides were Perry spokesman Rich Parsons, the governor's general counsel Mary Anne Wiley and deputy chief of staff Mike Morrissey, who all arrived through the public entrance. The governor’s lawyer requested private service.

The grand jury is investigating whether Perry illegally threatened and then withheld money from the Travis County District Attorney's office.

Travis County officials received a complaint last year about Gov. Rick Perry, which alleged the governor had abused his power in his threat to cut millions of dollars from the county’s Public Integrity Unit.

After Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunken driving arrest last year, the governor offered an ultimatum. Lehmberg was to step down or he would veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit's budget.

Lehmberg made it clear she wasn’t going anywhere, and Perry made good on his threat. He slashed the investigative unit’s entire $7.5 million two-year budget.

"We were convinced that Perry stepped over the line,” Craig McDonald with Texans for Public Justice said. "He went from bullying to law breaking."

It is not clear when Perry will testify. His aides had no comment.

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