Texas Gov. Rick Perry minced no words in his first public statement since a grand jury indicted him Friday on felony charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Perry said the indictment “amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power,” in a spin on the charges he himself faces. Perry maintained in his address to reporters that his actions were part of his constitutionally-protected authority as governor, calling the charges "partisan political theatrics."
“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state's constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win,” Perry, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, told reporters.
Perry’s indictment follows an investigation into his threat to veto state funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit if the county's district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, did not resign. Lehmberg had pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge last year and served a 45-day sentence, but she would not step down when Perry called on her to go. The Travis County investigative unit is in the predominantly Democratic city of Austin. Lehmberg told NBC News that she had no comment on the matter. In May, Perry told NBC News that he didn’t regret his choice to veto the funds and that he did not commit a crime.
— Jacob Passy
First published August 16 2014, 12:48 PM