A two-count felony indictment, that’s what Texas Governor Rick Perry is facing. He was charged last week with abuse of power by Travis County’s state grand jury but has stated that the prosecution is “outrageous.”
It was Perry’s veto of watchdog state ethics funding that has investigated well-known Texas Republicans that landed him in the hot seat. Perry was trying to force Rosemary Lehmbers resignation after she was arrested for extreme driving drunk. Unless she quit, Perry threatened to veto funding to her office. Perry did just that. He vetoed $7.5 million that was supposed to go to the Public Integrity Unit run out of Travis County to fight official corruption.
It wasn’t that he vetoed the funding, Perry has that right. The fact that he threatened to veto it and then carried it out is the issue.
The two felony counts of abuse and coercion of a public servant could carry a maximum sentence of over 100 years in prison.
Defense lawyer Tony Buzbee stated that the veto was lawful and that “Governor Perry will fight this indictment 100 percent.”
“This is nothing more than banana republic politics… [The charges] are an outrageous assault on the rule of law.”
A well-known presence in the courtrooms of Texas, Buzbee has won millions of dollars for individuals who after a refinery explosion near Huston in 2005 and has won billions, collectively, for his clients. Perry is seeking the best to defend him, and at a huge expense. A former Marine Corps infantry officer, Buzbee has been described as one of the most prominent and successful trial lawyers in the country.
There is a lot of taxpayer money being spent already on this indictment. An Austin attorney has been paid at least $80,000 in taxpayer money since April when the grand jury was first seated to discuss the allegations against Perry. That’s $450-per-hour for defense attorney David L. Botsford alone.
Buzbee stated, “Which of these lawyers will be paid for by the state of Texas and which will be paid by other funds, whether it be a defense fund or whatnot, that hasn’t been sorted yet.”
Perry is the first Texas governor in almost a century to be indicted, and just when he was polishing up his image with his sights on the presidential run in 2016.
It was Craig McDonald’s complaint that led to the investigation. McDonald, “of Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group…has countered Mr. Perry’s assertion, noting that the special prosecutor who oversaw the investigation is a Republican from San Antonio,” according to The New York Times. “No Democrat has had a finger on this. For the governor to say this is a partisan witch hunt just doesn’t stand in the face of the facts.”
But Perry stands his ground and denies any wrongdoing what-so-ever. It was Republican Bert Richardson, the judge overseeing the case, who determined an arrest warrant would not be necessary and granted a legal summons instead.
Perry turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday. The crowd cheered outside the Travis County justice building in Austin as he entered the courthouse. Perry told the crowd that he did not regret his actions.
“I’m here today because I believe in the rule of law, and I’m here today because I did the right thing,” stated Perry. “I am going to enter this courthouse with my head held high knowing that the actions that I took were not only lawful and legal, but right.”
Gov. Perry was then fingerprinted and a mug shot taken. He left shortly thereafter.
Will this scandal squash Perry’s chances for a 2016 presidential run? Pundits and reporters will most likely be trying to answer that question over the next several weeks. Perry seemed to be struggling before his indictment, according to recent polls. He was at 7 percent in Iowa and 5 percent in New Hampshire. His numbers are way down since announcing his candidacy in 2012. The next several months will tell if he will recover by the 2016 elections.
By Lorra B. Chief Writer for Silent Soldier