Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) held a fiery press conference Saturday afternoon to sharply criticise the “outrageous” grand jury indictment against him.
“We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country,” Perry told reporters at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. “It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution. This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot and will not allow that to happen.”
Perry was indicted Friday evening and accused of using his veto power to try and coerce the resignation of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat with state-level prosecuting authority. Perry, echoing the arguments of his lawyers and other observers, insisted he had the complete right to cut her funding after she was convicted of drunk driving in 2013.
“I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically,” he said. “I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto and I’ll continue to defend this lawful action of my execution authority as governor.”
Perry, a possible 2016 presidential contender, also said he would ultimately win in the case. When that happens, he predicted, the “prosecution will be revealed for what it is.”
“I intend to win. I’ll explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter and bring it to a swift conclusion. I am confident that we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is. And those responsible will be held accountable,” he said.
Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor, has already dismissed at least some Perry’s accusations and defended the integrity of his investigation. Earlier in the day, McCrum told the San Antonio Express-News that Perry’s lawyer couldn’t have been more wrong when he claimed the indictment “represents political abuse of the court system.”
“He can only be implying that it’s either me, or the grand jury, who are motivated by politics, and that’s not only ridiculous, but it’s disappointing,” McCrum told the paper.
McCrum told the Associated Press he will meet Perry’s attorney on Monday to discuss the indictments.
Updated (3:45 p.m.): With additional quotes and context. Also, an earlier version of this post incorrectly said the grand jury was federal instead of state-based.
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