Indictment {Video} Texas Governor Rick Perry Goes To Jail On 2 Felony Charges For Power Abuse

Published On August 20, 2014 | By admin | Local & Worldwide News

Gov. Rick Perry was unbowed Tuesday as he appeared at Travis County’s Blackwell Thurman Detention Center to be booked on two felony charges that he misused his office last year in an attempt to get Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to quit.

As he did Saturday — and as his lawyers did Monday — Perry maintained that his prosecution was political and an attempted usurpation of the governor’s powers.

“This indictment is fundamentally a political act that seeks to achieve at the courthouse what could not be achieved at the ballot box,” he said after emerging from a booking process that took about 10 minutes.

Perry only had about three blocks to go from the Governor’s Mansion to the jail, but he drove the distance anyway.

He arrived at the facility flanked by lawyers, security and staff. He was greeted by chants of “Perry! Perry! Perry!” from a group of about 100 supporters who had braved the broiling afternoon heat.

Before and after being booked, the governor made a few remarks before scores of television cameras.

“This issue is bigger than me,” Perry said. “It’s about the rule of law.”

The governor did not take questions Tuesday. On Monday, his legal team declined to explain their claim that the governor’s indictment was motivated by partisan politics.

Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum, a San Antonio attorney, was appointed by Bert Richardson, a retired Republican judge who was appointed by another Republican, Billy Ray Stubblefield, chief judge of Texas’ Third Judicial District. Perry appointed Stubblefield in 2010.

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who is heading up Perry’s legal team, did not respond to a call and an email Tuesday.

Perry and his lawyers — as well as many observers — have expressed skepticism about the indictments.

Last year, Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding for the Public Integrity Unit, a division of the Travis County District Attorney’s office that investigates corruption by state officials. In issuing the veto, Perry said the public had lost confidence in Lehmberg, the Democratic district attorney, who was convicted last year in an embarrassing case of drunken driving.

As part of the indictment, Perry is accused of illegally abusing his office by using threats of a veto to get Lehmberg to quit.

Critics of the indictments say they criminalize what governors do — use carrots and sticks to get people to do their bidding.

Perry echoed those sentiments outside the jail Tuesday.

“I will not allow this attack on our constitutional system of government to stand,” Perry said.

As he did Monday, Will Hailer, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, called the governor’s claims that the indictment was a partisan assault on the constitution a “smokescreen.”

He said what the governor was really trying to do last year was short-circuit an investigation into corruption at one of Perry’s signature programs, the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. The institute is a $3 billion state fund intended to foster research.

In 2012, the institute’s 18-member scientific-review committee resigned, accusing the governing board of cronyism. Last year, one of the institute’s top executives was indicted by the Public Integrity Unit on charges that he circumvented the scientific-review process in awarding an $11 million grant.

Hailer was asked if he had any specific evidence that the investigation into the institute had anything to do with Perry’s veto.

“That will come out in the coming weeks,” Hailer said.

Credit Source: Chron/El Paso Times/Marty Schladen

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