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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has hired a lawyer to defend him in an ongoing probe into whether he abused the power of his office, KVUE News and the Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday. The move comes one day before a grand jury could be seated to weigh whether to launch a criminal investigation into the matter.
At issue is whether Perry improperly vetoed money for the Travis County District Attorney's office in an effort to force the resignation of a lawyer who was arrested for drunk driving last April. Despite Perry threatening to withhold the funds, DA Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down following her arrest. So Perry nixed $7.5 million from the state budget that would have gone to a division in Lehmberg's office that investigates ethics complaints against public officials, saying he had to do so because Lehmberg "lost the public's confidence."
A special prosecutor has been investigating the matter for seven months, though Perry has not been charged with anything. Still, the prosecutor, Michael McCrum, said earlier this month he was "very concerned about certain aspects of what happened here."