Texas Gov. Rick Perry deleted a post from his Twitter account Sunday that highlighted the drunken driving arrest of Travis County Dist. Atty. Rosemary Lehmberg, who figures in the saga leading to the governor's recent indictment by a Travis County grand jury.
Perry's account tweeted an image featuring the logo of the conservative Patriot Post. The image depicted Lehmberg seated at a table with beer bottles. Text accompanying the image read, "I don't always drive drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit ... but when I do, I indict Gov. Perry for calling me out about it. I am the most drunk Democrat in Texas."
The tweet from Perry's account was retweeted more than 600 times.
In a subsequent post, Perry said that the Lehmberg tweet was "unauthorized" and that he did not condone it. Perry's office did not immediately reply to requests for comment about who manages his Twitter account.
Perry, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, was indicted in August on two felony counts of abusing his power by eliminating funds for the state's public integrity unit, which works under Lehmberg's office in the capital, Austin. A special prosecutor handled the case against Perry.
The bad blood between Perry and Lehmberg, a Democrat, dates from at least 2013, when Lehmberg was arrested for driving under the influence. Perry demanded that she resign, saying that if she refused, he would veto $7.5 million in funding for the public corruption unit in Lehmberg's office. He said he could not support continued funding "for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility for that unit has lost the public's confidence."
Lehmberg served about three weeks in jail but refused to quit, prompting Perry to follow through on his veto threat.
At the time, the public integrity unit was investigating a state agency, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, which was one of Perry's pet projects. Questions have surfaced regarding institute funding and money given to some of the governor's close allies; a former institute official has been indicted over the disbursement of an $11-million state grant.
The left-leaning government watchdog group Texans for Public Justice filed a complaint against Perry, which resulted in the appointment of a special prosecutor, who presented his case to the grand jury.
James Ferguson, who was convicted of 10 charges surrounding a scandal at the University of Texas, was the last governor to be indicted in 1917.
Times staff writer Mark Z. Barabak contributed to this report.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun