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Texas Gov. Perry arrives for booking on two felony charges

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrived at a county courthouse Tuesday for booking on two felony counts of abuse of power for carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors.

"I'm going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being. And we will prevail," Perry said before walking into the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, where a grand jury indicted him last week.

The Republican has dismissed the case as a political ploy, and he has laughed off concerns that it could be potentially unflattering as he strongly considers a second presidential run in 2016. Many top national conservatives have lined up to support him, including some potential future White House rivals.

The longest-serving governor in Texas history was indicted for coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit, which investigates wrongdoing by elected officials and is run by the Travis County district attorney's office. Perry threatened the veto if the county's Democratic district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, stayed in office after a drunken driving conviction.

How Rick Perry's Indictment Could Help His Image

Lehmberg refused to resign and Perry carried out the veto, drawing an ethics complaint from a left-leaning government watchdog group. Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin, a liberal bastion in otherwise fiercely conservative Texas.

But he isn't letting the case keep him from a packed travel schedule that will take him to the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over the next two weeks. After his 2012 presidential campaign flamed out, the Republican opted not to seek re-election as governor in November - leaving him more time to focus on rehabilitating his image nationally.

If convicted on both counts, Perry could face a maximum 109 years in prison - though legal experts across the political spectrum have said the case against him may be a tough sell to a jury. No one disputes that Perry has the right to veto any measures passed by the state Legislature, including any parts of the state budget.

But the complaint against Perry alleges that by publicly threatening a veto and trying to force Lehmberg to resign, he coerced her. The Republican judge assigned to the case has assigned a San Antonio-based special prosecutor who insists the case is stronger than it may outwardly appear.

Perry has hired a team of high-powered attorneys, who are being paid with state funds to defend him.

Perry is the first Texas governor to be indicted since 1917. Top Republicans have been especially quick to defend him, though, since a jail video following Lehmberg's April 2013 arrest showed the district attorney badly slurring her words, shouting at staffers to call the sheriff, kicking the door of her cell, and sticking her tongue out. Her blood alcohol level was also three times the legal limit for driving.

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elysianfields08 August 19 2014 at 6:50 PM

Total BS , Hang in there Gov

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28 replies
Ken McArthur August 19 2014 at 6:53 PM

So, we have a President using the IRS to harass its political enemies and nothing happens. Yet, a Governor trying to get an AG removed for DUI, who also chairs the ethics committee, is hounded by the liberals. Of course, the liberals have no qualms with an AG recently convicted of a DUI running the eithics committee. After all, what are ethics to them?

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50 replies
Bob August 19 2014 at 6:54 PM

We should be able to do the same for our President.

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45 replies
ohogwash August 19 2014 at 6:54 PM

but if a black man in the white house creates his own rules and does what he wants then that is ok. Libs trying to hurt and Repubs from making office. To bad most people can't see through this. If you are going after threats … when is Christie getting booked or ½ the other governors? What a crock of S _ _ T

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43 replies
ALLYSSA August 19 2014 at 6:55 PM

Democrats are really pushing the line and are going to pay dearly come elections! The political games coming out of the democratic party are shameful!

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51 replies
jdice289 August 19 2014 at 6:53 PM

HAHAHAHA!!!! With the ****** we have in office and his abuse of powers, this just makes me laugh!!!! Double standard ****** gov't!!!!

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13 replies
dhsdome August 19 2014 at 6:54 PM

Criminal Dependocrats really get upset when taxpayer funding is cut off.

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18 replies
lakota6020 August 19 2014 at 6:54 PM

Looking good Gov. a he** of a lot better than the cocaine freak we have now. Now as a tax payer I would like to say thank you for not giving my taxes to a drunk Miss. Piggy and now can we finally move the integrity unit out of Travis and put it in a sane county.

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14 replies
rvheaney August 19 2014 at 7:07 PM

i hope this backfires on the Democrats and cost them lots of votes ...

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30 replies
LMetz11822 August 19 2014 at 7:52 PM

In Texas, if the crime were for stealing political races was the same as stealing horses then Perry would definitely be hanging in there someplace.

The fact of the matter is that Perry was indicted not so much for trying to withhold funds to some DA busted for DUI, but it looks like he may also have tried to bribe this DA as well in an effort to stop an investigation by the Public Integrity Unit administered by this DA's office. "

The PIU had been investigating the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute a $3 billion dollar taxpayer funded project that awarded research and investment grants to startups targeting cancer cures. The entire scientific review team, including Nobel Laureate scientists, resigned because they said millions were handed out through political favoritism. Investigations by Texas newspapers indicated much of the money was ending up in projects proposed by campaign donors and supporters of Governor Perry. Perry needs to be held accountable for his actions.

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41 replies
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