Texas Governor Rick Perry Unveils High-Powered Defense Team

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry has assembled a high-powered legal team to defend him against charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant — and taxpayers will foot some of the bill. A grand jury indicted the three-term Republican for threatening to veto funding for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit unless its head resigned after a drunk-driving arrest. "Gov. Perry will fight this indictment 100 percent and at the end of the day he will prevail because he is on the side of the rule of law," his lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, said at a Monday news conference. "This is nothing more than banana republic politics.'

Buzbee was joined by Texas courthouse veteran David Botford, Washington-based trial attorney Bobby Burchfield, and prominent Republican election lawyer Bob Ginsberg. Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Phillips is also on the team. Buzbee said he could not estimate how much the defense would cost, but said the state would pay at least some of the legal costs. A booking date for Perry has not been set. The lawyers noted that a number of Democratic political commentators and constitutional lawyers had criticized a special prosecutor's decision to bring criminal charges against Perry for exercising his veto right.

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— Tracy Connor

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