A state district judge in Austin said Thursday that she intends to protect members of the grand jury that indicted Gov. Rick Perry from any threats — veiled or direct — from the governor or anyone else.
Judge Julie Kocurek of the 390th District Court, a Democrat, said Perry’s Saturday statement, issued a day after the indictment, could be construed as a threat and possible violation of the law. Kocurek, as the administrative presiding judge of all criminal courts in the county, said that “no one is above the law,” and the public needs to know that grand jurors are legally protected from any threat.
“I have a duty to make sure that our members of the grand jury are protected,” Kocurek said. “I am defending the integrity of our grand jury system.”
The judge said that Perry might have made a veiled threat when he said: “I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account.”
The only people that Perry could be referring to as being accountable are the grand jurors, judge and prosecutor, Kocurek said.
The Texas Penal Code that outlaws obstruction and retaliation says that anyone who “intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm” a grand juror faces a second degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.