Prosecutor: Testimony in Perry probe winding down

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 10:32 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Testimony in the grand jury investigation over whether Gov. Rick Perry abused his power with a veto in 2013 is starting to wind down after a monthlong parade of witnesses that hasn't included the governor himself, the special prosecutor handling the case said Friday.

Michael McCrum, a San Antonio lawyer, has said there are no plans to call Perry before an Austin grand jury. The panel is considering whether the governor broke the law when he vowed to veto funding for public corruption investigators if Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg didn't resign.

Lehmberg, a Democrat, had recently been arrested for drunken driving but refused to step down.

Four more current and former Perry aides entered the grand jury room Friday. McCrum declined to say afterward whether Perry definitively would not testify but signaled that few more witnesses remain.

"It's winding down to the point where we've talked to pretty much all the people that we need to talk to," McCrum said.

The grand jury is next scheduled to meet July 11.

Brandy Marty, Perry's former chief of staff, walked into the closed-door grand jury room for the first time Friday. Also entering were Mary Anne Wiley, Perry's general counsel; Allison Castle, a former Perry spokeswoman; and Teresa Spears, a longtime adviser.

Perry, who is considering another run for the White House in 2016, has said he never sought a deal with Lehmberg. His aides have insisted the governor was within his rights to exercise his line-item veto power and take away $7.5 million in funding for the state's Public Integrity Unit, which operates out of Lehmberg's office.

Grand jury proceedings are secret and witnesses have declined comment entering and leaving the grand jury room. Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson, other Perry advisers and Travis County officials have also entered the room.

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Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

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