Wednesday morning, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, dismissed the remaining charge against former Gov. Rick Perry. Perry had been indicted in 2014 by a Travis County grand jury for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, stemming from his threat and then veto of funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. Perry had said he was vetoing the funds after then-Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, was arrested for drunken driving and caught on video being abusive and disrespectful to the law enforcement officers. Because of Lehmberg’s conduct, said Perry, she had lost the public’s confidence and was unfit to be running an “integrity” unit. She served a short jail sentence but refused to resign, and Perry carried out his veto threat. The coercion charge had been tossed out by the Third Court of Appeals in Austin last year on First Amendment grounds, and this dismissal now puts the rest of the case to an end. It’s a victory, but a bittersweet one, coming months after Perry suspended his presidential campaign. This has been a tough year for any candidate to get traction against Donald Trump, but pending criminal charges made it even more difficult for Perry to get traction with donors and supporters. A pro-Perry PAC covered his hefty legal bills, but still, those were resources that weren’t able to help his campaign. The court’s opinion can be read here. Eight of the nine Court of Criminal Appeals judges decided the case. Judge Bert Richardson, elected to the court in 2015, was appointed the trial judge and was still serving in that capacity, so he was not part of the arguments, deliberations, or rulings, as reported by the Austin-American Statesman. From the beginning, Perry was adamant that the charges against him were politically motivated and expressed confidence that he would ultimately prevail, even going so far as to say that he would veto the funds all over again, given the chance. On the day he was booked and fingerprinted, he held a press conference outside the criminal justice building that was closer in tone to a pep rally. His mugshot, the featured image on this post, went viral on social media because of Perry’s confident winking smile, and he then went with his attorneys to a local hamburger place, Sandy’s Hamburgers, for some soft-serve ice cream. Perry has been vindicated today, but at a high cost. Again, it’s impossible to predict what would have happened, but there were multiple reports of donors “keeping their powder dry” waiting to see if Perry would be able to beat the rap. If both charges had been dismissed instead of just one back in July, it might have been a different story. Travis County, containing the city of Austin, has skewed more liberal than the rest of the state for a long time, and many conservatives have expressed concerns about the power wielded by Democrat-dominated grand juries over the mostly-Republican elected officials who represent Texas in the state capital and in Congress. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was another Republican who found himself in the cross-hairs of a Travis County grand jury. Indicted in 2005 on criminal charges of conspiracy to violate election laws, DeLay resigned as Majority Leader and then announced he would not seek re-election. He was convicted in 2011, sentenced to three years in prison, but allowed to remain free on bail during the appeals. Eventually, an appellate court overturned DeLay’s conviction and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed that decision in 2014. As the Helstoski court wrote regarding criminal charges against elected officials,“the stigma lingers and may well spell the end to a political career.” DeLay wasn’t exonerated until nearly a decade after his political career was ended. Perry’s vindication came quicker, but not soon enough.