Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) suggested on Monday that the felony indictment against him may be a plot to damage his potential campaign for president in 2016.
During a radio interview, Fox News host Sean Hannity directly asked Perry whether such a plot could exist. Although Perry didn’t say Hannity’s thesis was correct, the governor nevertheless pointed to all of the campaigning he’s done across the country and called timing of last Friday’s indictment “suspect, to say the least.”
“I think over the course of the last 12 to 14 months, we have been thoughtfully engaged in helping candidates across the country,” Perry said, citing U.S. Senate contenders in Iowa and North Carolina. “We’ve been successful in many of those places to help move the needle for those candidates. And the really hardcore left, they’re not above sinking somebody’s political or personal life, or block someone from being engaged in that type of activity. So the timing is suspect, to say the least.”
Perry is accused of abusing his office by threatening to veto a state-level prosecutor’s funding after she was arrested for drunk driving in 2013. Perry demanded she resign or see the funding for the public integrity unit based in her office cut. He ultimately followed through with the threat — something he has repeatedly insisted was a valid and a legal use of his veto power.
Perry, who unsuccessfully sought the White House in 2012 and is setting the stage for another bid in 2016, has launched an aggressive media pushback to rally the public against the allegations. He scheduled multiple radio and television appearances Sunday and Monday while his lawyers held a press conference decrying the “banana republic” charges against him at the same time as the Hannity interview.
“We don’t settle political differences in the United States and Texas in the criminal courts. We settle political differences in the ballot box. This is nothing more but banana republic politics. The charges leveled against the governor are really nasty attack, not only on the rule of law, but also on the Constitution of the United States,” Perry attorney Tony Buzbee said.
For his part, Perry vowed to fight the charges “with everything that I have.”
“I feel very confident. I’ve got a great team of lawyers put together. But this needs to be exposed for the absolute corrupt process that it is,” Perry told Hannity. “What’s most important to me is that we stand up to a clear abuse of prosecutorial action, that we push back hard. And I intend to fight with everything that I have.”
The special prosecutor pressing charges against Perry has dismissed the governor’s allegations of partisanship and stressed that the facts of the case led him to seek the grand jury indictment.
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