On Friday Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on 2 felony counts of abuse of power and today he broke his silence.
The first count charges him with “abuse of official capacity” which is a 1st degree, and the second charges him with “coercion of a public servant” a 3rd degree felony.
The Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum said that next week Perry will be arraigned and have to take a mug shot.
Governor Rick Perry had the audacity to call his indictment “an abuse of power.”
He vowed payback and based his response on two very weak arguments that seem more geared towards public perception more than genuine defense against the criminal accusations.
1.) He had the legal authority to use his veto power. True, but the charges are based on a very public “threat” of the use of his veto for political reasons, not use of the veto itself.
Special Prosecutor Mike McCrum said:
- Count two of
the indictment charges him with coercion for threatening rosemary lehmberg
- in her capacity as public servant to resign or otherwise he would veto the legislation.
2.) That this is just a political witch hunt. That is not surprising since he just launched a federal PAC and is attempting to relaunch a presidential bid for 2016. However the Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum is no left wing lawyer. He and the Williamson County judge who appointed here are Republicans. According the Dallas Morning News,
- “The former federal prosecutor has been practicing for more than 25 years and concentrates on white-collar criminal defense, federal and state government investigations and federal commercial litigation.”McCrum has been recognized in “Best Lawyers in America” every year since 2006, and by “Texas Super Lawyers” from 2007-2011.
In addition to being appointed as an assistant U.S. attorney during the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Perry said he exercised this authority to veto funding from an agency “whose leadership had lost the public trust,” and that he “wholeheartedly and unequivocally” stands behind his veto.
He called it “outrageous” that some would use the court system for politics.
This “indictment is nothing more than abuse of power. I can not and will not let it happen,” adding this “farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is…And those responsible will be held accountable.”
The problem for Perry is his statements don’t add up. Perry claims he made the veto because Rosemary lost the confidence of the public, but he made no such claims about State Representative Naomi Gonzalez when she got in a drunk driving accident during the last legislative session. Perry didn’t veto Gonzalez’ bills or ask her to step down from office.
Not to mention it is not Gov. Perry’s role to dictate who serves in duly elected office. In the case of Rep. Gonzalez voters sent her packing during the following primary. That is how democracy is supposed to work.
There is also a long string of evidence to show that Perry and the GOP have long sought to remove the Public Integrity Unit away from Travis County for political reasons.
According to the prosecutor Perry faces up to 109 years in jail for both counts.
Perry’s full statement:
- “As governor, I took an oath to faithfully uphold the constitution of Texas, a pledge that I have kept every day as I’ve worked on behalf of Texans for the last 14 years. This same constitution clearly outlines the authority of any governor to veto items at his or her discretion. 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.”I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor. 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.
“This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen. I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win. I will explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account.”
Watch the video here:
The statement from Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum:
Via The Austin America Statesman, here is video of Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum issuing the indictment:
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