Politics Now
Political, campaign and national news
NationNational PoliticsPolitics Now

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is booked; he calls charges an 'injustice'

PoliticsElectionsCrimeRick PerryTrials and Arbitration
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is booked on charges he calls 'partisan political theatrics'
Bad timing: Indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry cuts into his effort to position for 2016 presidential race
'I'm going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being,' Rick Perry says before being fingerprinted

After a pre-booking gathering that doubled as a campaign-style rally, Texas Gov. Rick Perry strode into a criminal justice center in Austin on Tuesday to be booked on two felony counts that pose for him both legal and political peril.

Before entering to be fingerprinted and photographed, Perry defiantly insisted that he would fight the charges against him “with every fiber of my being.”

“I’m here today because I believe in the rule of law,” he said in brief remarks punctuated by repeated applause from his supporters. “I’m here today because I did the right thing. 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.”

As he has repeatedly since his indictment by a grand jury on Friday, Perry cast his legal fight as a struggle larger than him and centered on any citizen’s constitutional rights.

“I will not allow this attack on our system of government to stand,” the Republican governor said. “I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being, and we will prevail. We will prevail because we’re standing for the rule of law.”

At that, he offered a wave and walked inside for the official processing and a mug shot that will undoubtedly ricochet around the political world.

The charges accuse Perry of abusing his power by targeting the state’s ethics watchdog with a veto of its $7.5-million state funding. The Office of Public Integrity, which investigates elected officials in Texas, is housed in the office of Travis County Dist. Atty. Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat who has clashed with Republicans.

After she was arrested on drunk-driving charges last year in a videotaped confrontation with police, Perry threatened the unit's funding unless Lehmberg stepped down. He said he could not support continued funding “for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility for that unit has lost the public’s confidence."

Lehmberg refused to quit, and Perry followed through on his veto threat, prompting a government watchdog group to file a complaint accusing Perry of improper intimidation. That led to the grand jury action announced Friday.

Critics of Perry note that at the time funding for Lehmberg’s office was cut, the public corruption unit was investigating one of the governor’s pet projects, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Question have surfaced regarding funding of the institute and money given to some of the governor’s close allies; a former institute official has been indicted for his handling of an $11-million state grant.

Perry was charged with one count of abuse of official capacity, which carries a penalty of five to 99 years in prison, and one count of coercion of a public servant, which carries a punishment of two to 10 years in prison.

But the additional danger comes to Perry’s political future. The longest-serving governor in Texas history, he had announced he would not seek another term and would step down in early January after 14 years in office. He has spent months visiting key political states, including money-heavy California and early-voting Iowa, trying to resurrect a political image damaged in his disastrous 2012 campaign for president.

Since the indictment, he has worked to rally Republicans around himself as a symbol of government overreach — and even some Democrats have suggested that the indictment was far-fetched.

For political news and analysis, follow me on Twitter: @cathleendecker

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
PoliticsElectionsCrimeRick PerryTrials and Arbitration
  • White House intruder arrested after entering front doors
    White House intruder arrested after entering front doors

    An intruder scaled a White House fence and made it all the way into the building Friday evening before he was caught and wrestled to the ground by security officers, the Secret Service said. President Obama and his family had already left for Camp David when the incident occurred.

  • Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past
    Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past

    Don Spirit, a Florida grandfather who fatally shot his daughter Sarah Lorraine Spirit and six grandchildren before killing himself, had a long history of domestic violence — at one point pushing his pregnant daughter against a refrigerator and assaulting and threatening his former...

  • Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?
    Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?

    In Texas, where the governor once urged the public to pray for rain, this week’s torrential storms might finally be a sign of lasting relief for the state plagued by years of drought. Or maybe not.

  • For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war
    For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war

    Lawmakers' votes this week on whether or not to train and equip Syrian opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State were arguably the most consequential after nearly two years in which Congress is likely to set a new low for productivity.

  • Egyptian militant admits links to 1998 U.S. embassy bombings

    A longtime Egyptian militant with ties to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden admitted in federal court Friday that he had links to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, a surprise guilty plea that the judge sharply questioned because it reduces his prison time from a potential life sentence to...

  • Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels
    Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels

    What was supposed to be a no-drama final session of Congress before the campaign season turned into anything but as President Obama's new strategy to combat the threat from Islamic State resulted in a wrenching vote that is likely to reverberate through the midterm election and...

Comments
Loading