Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry kicked off his second presidential bid on Thursday with one distinction no other candidate in the field can claim: He’s the only one running while under felony indictment.
Perry was indicted on abuse of power and coercion charges last August for threatening to veto funding for the state’s public integrity unit, unless the Democratic district attorney leading the group resigned for driving while intoxicated.
The Republican and his lawyers maintain he acted lawfully as governor and have tried to get the case thrown out on Constitutional grounds. But those efforts have so far failed, meaning the unsuccessful 2012 candidate may be forced to take time away from town halls in Iowa for a courthouse in Austin, Texas.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum recently wrote in a court filing that hundreds of pages of documents have been exchanged over the past nine months but “we are no closer to a resolution.”
"The prosecution's case amounts to the criminalization of politics," Perry said back in January after a judge refused to dismiss the charges against him. His lawyers have now turned to a Texas appeals court to reverse the decision and have asked that the ruling be expedited. The Texas Tribune reports that the ruling could come any day now, but complicating the matter is the fact that one of the three judges making the decision is a Perry appointee who has yet to recuse himself.
Perry has called the case against him a “witch hunt” and has even fundraised off his efforts to fight it.
His team has said the ongoing litigation rarely comes while on the campaign trail and has not had a significant impact on his second run.