AUSTIN, Texas — Last month, a Travis County grand jury indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry on two charges, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, which stemmed from his veto of the funding for the Public Integrity Unit, an agency administered by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, after Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County District Attorney, refused to resign after being arrested for DWI and getting caught on video being belligerent to police officers. Now, the attorney appointed to prosecute Perry may be facing criminal charges of his own.
As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, Houston attorney David Rushing has filed a criminal complaint in Travis County against Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor appointed in Perry’s case. Rushing’s complaint alleges that the legal fees that McCrum is charging violates Article 2.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which establishes the permitted attorneys’ fees in these cases on a county-by-county basis.
For Travis County, the allowable legal fees are $70 to $100 per hour for in court time, and $60 to $90 per hour for out-of-court time. McCrum was originally charging Travis County a $300 hourly rate, but reduced that to $250 per hour after a second attorney was appointed to help him prosecute the case. As Rushing states in his complaint, the fee charged by McCrum is “more than three times the maximum allowable rate for felony criminal attorneys, even in cases where the death penalty is sought.”
Rushing’s complaint alleges that McCrum has violated three laws: abuse of official capacity (ironically, one of the same charges that McCrum is pursuing against Perry), theft by a public servant, and acceptance of an honorarium.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Rushing said that he does court appointed legal work himself — mostly defense cases — and is familiar with the procedural rules and allowable attorneys’ fees. When he saw the news coverage about the case, Rushing said “it just rubbed me the wrong way, seeing someone using the judicial process for personal gain and profiting beyond what state law allows him to do.”
Regarding the substance of the complaint, Rushing said that it was “pretty self-explanatory,” and “what really rubs me the wrong way about this is that he [McCrum] is violating the very law that he is appointed to prosecute Governor Perry for.”
Breitbart Texas asked Rushing for some information on his background. Rushing was the chair of his Young Conservatives of Texas chapter about a decade ago, but says he has not been very politically active since. He added that he is not friends with Perry, or work with him or anyone associated with the Governor’s office, and has never met McCrum, as far as he can remember. Rushing repeated again that his motivation for filing this complaint was that he does similar legal work and wants to make McCrum comply with the same rules as everyone else.
As far as what outcome Rushing would like to see, he told Breitbart Texas that he is “hoping that Mr. McCrum will do the right thing and agree to reduce his fee down to the right amount, [and if not, then] the Travis County DA will step in and prosecute.”
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.