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Texas Gov. Perry says indictment is abuse of power


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry vowed Saturday to fight a criminal indictment in a defiant response that showed an old slice of swagger that he's kept holstered lately while seeking to remake his image for a potential 2016 presidential run.

Perry called two felony counts of abuse of power issued by an Austin grand jury "outrageous" and made no apologies for his 2013 veto that prompted a criminal investigation against the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

Perry made it clear he will finish his term that ends in January and said it was the investigation against him - and not his actions - that amounted to an abuse of power. A Travis County grand jury on Friday indicted Perry for carrying out a threat to veto state funds to the local district attorney, an elected Democrat, who refused to resign following a drunken-driving arrest.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," Perry told reporters outside his office in the Texas Capitol. "It is outrageous that someone would use political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."

Perry, the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted, again dismissed the charges as nakedly political and said he would not hesitate to execute a veto under the same circumstances again.

"The details of my decision-making were very clear. I said early on that I was going to clearly veto those dollars as long as they had someone in that office who I had lost confidence in," Perry said. "And I had lost confidence."

Perry's veto cut $7.5 million in funding to the state's ethics watchdog housed in the Travis County district attorney's office. A Texas state judge assigned a special prosecutor to investigate the veto following a formal complaint filed by a left-leaning watchdog group, which accused Perry of trying to leverage his power to force the resignation of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

That unit of public corruption investigators is based in Austin, a liberal haven in mostly conservative Texas and a city that reliably elects Democrats to serve as district attorney.

Perry said he was confident that he would prevail and vowed that those responsible for this "farce of a prosecution" would be held accountable.

Many Democrats criticized Perry's aggressive reaction to the indictment and accused him of trying to shift the blame. Yet state Sen. Wendy Davis, the face of the party in Texas who's running a high-profile campaign for governor, took a more cautious tone Saturday.

"The charges that were brought down by the grand jury are very, very serious," Davis said, adding that she trusted the justice system to do its job.

Tensions between Republicans and the public integrity unit have simmered for years. Conservatives have long grumbled that the unit operates through a partisan lens and targets Republicans.

Former U.S. House Majority Tom DeLay and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, two Republicans, are among the biggest past names to have been indicted in Travis County on ethics charges. Hutchison was acquitted and an appeals court overturned a guilty verdict against DeLay.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicted On Two Felony Charges

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snrar August 16 2014 at 3:51 PM

I stand with Rick Perry and this is purely a political hit job by the leftist progressives as they see that Gov . Perry is gaining in the polls big time . His stance on the Border Issue is making him a front runner for the White House and he is looking mighty strong . The left is in fear of losing the senate and the White House as people have made up there minds on this leftist agenda brought on by Obama and spoiling Hillary Clintons chances .

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49 replies
josephprush August 16 2014 at 3:49 PM

The investigative unit is based in Austin, a heavily Democratic city where the grand jury was seated. The rest of Texas is heavily Republican."

And it's the governor who is supposedly abusing power?

Game. Set. Match.

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49 replies
deelight821 August 16 2014 at 3:46 PM

Well, he thinks he is above the law, and that he should be able to do whatever he wants, be it threatening to get his way or not!! It's time to get rid of these self-important buffoons and get some real, honest citizens running the country!!!

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50 replies
mickylitz2 August 16 2014 at 3:56 PM

Travis County unit investigating public corruption led by a woman who broke the law herself by being drunk 3 times the legal limit and resisted arrest.
Go Perry, the Texas constitution state that a Governor can veto a bill at his/her discretion, Good for you..
We would be so lucky to have a President with such honesty and tenacity.
Holder should be placed on the same chopping block as this Travis country Attorney general, unfortunately we have a President supporting his crooked appointees..
Anyone against a man doing the right thing is untrustworthy .

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21 replies
hugh4u2 August 16 2014 at 3:47 PM

he wants to be like g.w. bush..............or dumber! if thats possible

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27 replies
dollie August 16 2014 at 3:52 PM

Lol. The criminal tries to point the finger at others. Your non support of those poor children trying to come here for a better life just came back to bite you big time. Karma. Our president does not take lightly those who stand in his way. You are going to prison! So get used to it

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39 replies
vtmilitia August 16 2014 at 3:47 PM

Texas politics are notoriously dirty, let's just see how this plays out in court. If it's just politics it won't stick, if Perry crossed the line that will come out.

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10 replies
cigarpal August 16 2014 at 3:46 PM

"I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything".

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10 replies
crwnyc August 16 2014 at 6:49 PM

Of course, GOP dirtbag (whoops! redundant) Perry is screaming foul. It's the only way he has to defend himself for his blatant abuse of power. The same thing happens when you corner a common street rat which obviously has better judgment and more common sense than Rick Perry!

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samnakib August 16 2014 at 6:50 PM

Let's see , Dept. of Education, department of, of, of.....Uh, dept. of Correction???

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