Rick Perry Calls Indictment "Abuse Of Power" After He Reportedly Abused Power
A day after he was indicted by a grand jury for abusing his power, embattled Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized his "outrageous" indictment, defending his actions on Saturday at a press conference. Funny enough, Perry alleged that the indictment was an "abuse of power," describing it as a politically charged move by the Austin-based grand jury. Perry added that he would fight the charges against him.
Perry was indicted Friday on two felony counts of abuse of power over a veto that removed $7.5 million in funds from a public integrity unit run by an Austin-based, Democratic district attorney. For another bit of irony, the public integrity unit investigates political corruption among top-ranking officials.
The right-wing governor reportedly publicly threatened to veto the funds, and then carried through with the threat after the district attorney who oversees the division, Rosemary Lehmberg, refused to resign. Lehmberg was convicted of drunk driving, but political pundits say the threat may have been political, because Lehmberg is a Democrat in the overwhelmingly "blue" Austin.
Perry told reporters on Saturday that the indictment was "outrageous" and that he's confident in his actions:
I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand by my veto, and I'll continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor. We don't settle political indifferences with indictments in this country. ... Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public's confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically. The details of my decision making were very clear. I said early on that I was going to clearly veto those dollars as long as they had someone in that office who I'd lost confidence in, and I did exactly what I said I would do.
According to The Dallas Morning Star, special prosecutor Michael McCrum, who announced the indictment, believes the charges against Perry are valid. "I took into account the fact that we’re talking about the governor of a state and the governor of the state of Texas, which we all love," McCrum told reporters on Friday. "But when it gets down to it, the law is the law."
Perry is only the second sitting governor to be hit with an indictment after Gov. James “Pa” Ferguson in 1917. The 2012 presidential candidate was expected to be another Republican consideration for the 2016 presidential election, but it looks like his star may be burning less bright now. However, Perry hasn't ruled out running in 2016.
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