By WILL WEISSERT
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A state appeals court has thrown out one of two felony indictments against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The 3rd Court of Appeals sided Friday with the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful's attorneys, saying the charge of coercion of a public servant essentially constituted a violation of Perry's free speech rights.
Perry was indicted last summer on that charge and a charge of abuse of official power. The abuse of power charge wasn't affected by Friday's ruling.
Perry says the case against him is politically motivated, but the trial judge repeatedly refused to toss it on constitutional grounds, prompting the appeal.
The charges stem from Perry publicly threatening, and then exercising, a veto of state funding for public corruption prosecutors after the head of that unit was convicted of drunken driving.
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