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Gov. Perry Indicted, Calls Charges A ‘Farce’

Gov. Perry was indicted on two felony counts Friday.

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Governor Rick Perry’s lawyers will meet with prosecutors today to set a time for him to turn himself in to Travis County authorities. That’s after Perry was indicted on two felony counts Friday. KUT’s Ben Philpott recaps the action over the weekend.

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Governor Rick Perry during his statement on Saturday, August 16, after a Travis County Grand Jury indicted Perry on two felony counts. Photo from the Office of the Governor.

 

The charges stem from Governor Perry’s threat to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit, a legal office that has jurisdiction over state agencies and lawmakers — unless Travis Country District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned. She refused and Perry followed through on the threat. But it’s was the threat itself — quit or I take your funding — that prompted the complaint that led to the charges. Here’s special prosecutor Michael McCrum on Friday announcing the indictments: Abuse of Official Capacity and Coercion of a Public Servant.

“Governor Perry intentionally or knowingly misused the government property that had come into his custody or control that is the money that had been approved and authorized by the Legislature of the state of Texas to provide for funding of the Public Integrity Unit.”

Perry’s supporters immediately came to his aid with e-mail statements and a social media blitz, blaming the indictments on partisan politics and DA Lehmberg. Perry echoed those statements in a Saturday afternoon press conference.

“We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country. It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution.”

Perry’s accusations of partisan politics have been refuted by Democrats, who point out the special prosecutor is a Republican, who was tapped to head up the investigation by a Republican judge. Texas Democratic Party executive director Will Hailer says the only partisan politics were when Perry tried to eliminate the Public Integrity Unit.

“This is a political witch hunt against an office that’s sole job, whether Democrats or Republicans are in power here in Austin, is to make sure taxpayers in Texas, that the government is working for them, not against them. Or not for the special interests. And this is a clear abuse of power.”

Perry could turn himself in this week. A trial could take months to begin and any appeals could mean years before there’s a final verdict.

 

FULL REMARKS: Governor Perry Blasts Indictment as “Farce”