Texas Governor Rick Perry has been booked at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Austin, for two felony indictments of abuse of power on August 19.
Rick Perry told dozens of cheering supporters outside the Texas courthouse that he would “fight this injustice with every fiber of my being”.
Showing no hint of worry on his face, Rick Perry flashed a thin, confident grin beneath perfect hair in his mug shot. He then headed to a nearby Austin eatery for ice cream, even gleefully documenting his excursion via Twitter.
The Republican, who is mulling a second presidential run in 2016, was indicted after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors. He has dismissed the case a political ploy, and supporters chanting his last name and holding signs greeted him upon arriving at a Travis County Courthouse in Austin.
“I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being. And we will prevail,” Rick Perry said before walking inside the building, where he set off a metal detector but didn’t break stride, heading straight to a first-floor office to have his fingerprints taken and stand for the mug shot. In it he’s wearing a blue tie but shed the glasses that have become something of his trademark in recent months.
The longest-serving governor in Texas history was indicted last week for coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit, which investigates wrongdoing by elected officials and is run by the Travis County district attorney’s office. Rick Perry threatened the veto if the county’s Democratic district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, stayed in office after a drunken driving conviction.
Showing no hint of worry on his face, Rick Perry flashed a thin, confident grin beneath perfect hair in his mug shot (photo Austin Police Department)
Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign and Rick Perry carried out the veto, drawing an ethics complaint from a left-leaning government watchdog group.
Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin, a liberal bastion in otherwise mostly fiercely conservative Texas.
“I’m going to enter this courthouse with my head held high knowing the actions I took were not only lawful and legal, but right,” Rick Perry told supporters before heading inside the building located just steps from the governor’s mansion.
In less than 10 minutes, Rick Perry was outside again, telling those assembled that he was confident in the rule of law.
“We don’t resolve political disputes or policy differences by indictments,” he said.
“We don’t criminalize policy disagreements. We will prevail. We will prevail.”
If convicted on both counts, Rick Perry could face a maximum 109 years in prison – though legal experts across the political spectrum have said the case against him may be a tough sell to a jury. No one disputes that Rick Perry has the right to veto any measures passed by the state Legislature, including any parts of the state budget.
However, the complaint against Rick Perry alleges that by publicly threatening a veto and trying to force Rosemary Lehmberg to resign, he coerced her. The Republican judge assigned to the case has assigned a San Antonio-based special prosecutor who insists the case is stronger than it may outwardly appear.
Rick Perry has hired a team of high-powered attorneys, who are being paid with state funds to defend him.
Top Republicans have been especially quick to defend the governor, though, since a jail video following Rosemary Lehmberg’s April 2013 arrest showed the district attorney badly slurring her words, shouting at staffers to call the sheriff, kicking the door of her cell, and sticking her tongue out. Rosemary Lehmberg’s blood alcohol level was also three times the legal limit for driving.
Rick Perry is the first Texas governor to be indicted since 1917.
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Rick Perry plans to turn himself in to authorities for fingerprinting and a mug shot on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
The Texas governor he was indicted by a jury in the state last week on two felony charges of abusing power, local news reports said.
Rick Perry, 64, is due to be arraigned on Friday.
The indictment has cast a shadow over Rick Perry’s possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination, with experts predicting that legal wrangling in the case is likely to stretch into the 2016 election cycle.
Rick Perry plans to turn himself in to authorities for fingerprinting and a mug shot (photo Getty Images)
Rick Perry was indicted on August 15 by a grand jury in Travis County, a Democratic stronghold in the heavily Republican state, over his veto of funding for a state ethics watchdog that has investigated prominent Texas Republicans.
The governor has called the indictment politically motivated and pledged to fight the charges.
Rick Perry became the target of an ethics probe last year after he vetoed $7.5 million in funding for the state public integrity unit run from the Travis County district attorney’s office.
The veto was widely viewed as intended to force the resignation of county District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she had pleaded guilty to drunken driving but remained in office.
Democrats have said Rick Perry may have been looking to put an ally in charge of the unit, extending what they say is cronyism in his administration.
Rick Perry faces a prison sentence of five to 99 years.
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Texas Governor Rick Perry has vowed to fight an indictment against him for abuse of power, which he dismissed as a “farce”.
The indictment “amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power… I cannot and will not allow that to happen,” Rick Perry said.
Rick Perry, 63, faces two counts of abuse of power and coercion over a funding veto he imposed last year, seen as a bid to force a local prosecutor to resign.
The possible Republican presidential hopeful has denied any wrong-doing.
A grand jury indicted Governor Rick Perry on Friday after months of investigation into his motivations for cutting funds amounting to $7.5 million to a state anti-corruption unit run by District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum said there was evidence Governor Rick Perry had threatened to withhold funding unless Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, resigned over DUI charges.
Rick Perry dismissed the indictment against him as a farce (photo rickperry.org)
The indictment said Governor Rick Perry “intentionally or knowingly misused government property…with intent to harm another” namely, Rosemary Lehmberg and the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Rick Perry defended his decision on Saturday, saying he had “exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically”.
“I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and I’ll continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor.
“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws, purely for political purposes, and I intend to win,” Rick Perry told reporters.
Rick Perry is the longest-serving governor in the state’s history and Texas’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.
Prosecutor Michael McCrum called up numerous witnesses to argue his case that the governor had broken the law.
The Texans for Public Justice, which filed a complaint in the case, said “the grand jury decided Perry’s bullying crossed the line into law breaking”.
Abuse of office can carry punishments of between five to 99 years in prison, while coercion of a public servant carries sentences ranging from two to 10 years.
His recent movements between key Republican battleground states is seen by analysts as laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run in 2016.
Rick Perry announced that he would retire from the Texas governor’s office instead of seeking a fourth term in July 2013.
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