Judge Refuses To Dismiss Felony Abuse Of Power Case Against Rick Perry

Republican Presidential Hopeful Rick Perry Speaks To The Media In New York City

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge on Tuesday refused to dismiss a felony abuse-of-power case against former Gov. Rick Perry on constitutional grounds, ruling that criminal charges against the possible 2016 presidential candidate should stand.

In 44 pages of decisions and orders, District Judge Bert Richardson, who like Perry is a Republican, rejected calls from Perry’s pricy defense team to toss the case because its client was acting within his rights as chief executive of America’s second-most populous state when he publicly threatened, then carried out, a 2013 veto of state funding for public corruption prosecutors.

Richardson wrote that, “Texas law clearly precludes a trial court from making a pretrial determination regarding the constitutionality of a state penal or criminal procedural statute as the statue applies to a particular defendant.”

Perry was the longest-serving governor in Texas history but chose not to seek re-election last year and left office Jan. 20. He is seriously considering a second run for president after his 2012 White House bid flamed out in a series of public gaffes, however, and says he may announce a final decision as soon as May.

Perry has spent more than $1.1 million of his campaign funds on his defense — and Richard’s ruling means it will likely continue for several more months at least.

David Botsford, one of Perry’s defense attorneys, said the legal team had filed a notice of appeal. Another attorney, Tony Buzbee, issued a statement saying that the former governor “acted lawfully and properly exercised his power under the law” and that his continued prosecution “is an outrage and sets a dangerous precedent in our Democracy.”

Perry was indicted in August on charges of abuse of official power and coercion of a public servant. He is accused of publicly threatening — then making good on — the veto of $7.5 million in state funding for a public corruption division within the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. That came after Lehmberg, a Democrat whose county includes Austin, rebuffed Perry’s calls to resign following a conviction and jail time for drunken driving.

Texans for Public Justice, a left-leaning watchdog group based in Austin, raised concerns that gave rise to the criminal case. The group’s executive director, Craig McDonald, released a statement Tuesday saying, “The prosecutor and a grand jury have said there’s compelling evidence against Perry. That evidence should be presented in court for all to see. The chances of that happening improved today.”

In a 60-page motion filed in August, Perry’s attorneys had said the law being used to prosecute him is unconstitutionally vague and decried “attempts to convert inescapably political disputes into criminal complaints.”

Richardson did rule Tuesday that one of the charges against Perry was vague, but he gave the state time to correct it.

A grand jury in Austin — a liberal enclave in otherwise largely conservative Texas — indicted Perry. If convicted, the former governor faces a maximum 109 years in prison. Perry calls the matter a political witch hunt and says he would issue the veto again if given the chance. When he was booked and fingerprinted, Perry smirked in his mug shot — then tweeted about going for ice cream.

Top national Republicans initially lined up to praise Perry and decry the criminal charges against him — but they’ve been less vocal about their support as the case drags on.

An exception was fellow Texan and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s also mulling a presidential run. The tea party favorite on Tuesday night called Perry “a good man, a man of integrity, and a friend.”

“The district court’s decision to allow this case to proceed is both unfortunate and wrong, and it profoundly undermines the rule of law,” Cruz said in a statement.

Richardson had previously refused to toss the case on a series of technicalities Perry’s lawyers raised, including questioning whether the special prosecutor assigned to the case, San Antonio attorney Michael McCrum, was properly sworn in.

McCrum has said from the start that the case is stronger than it may outwardly appear, and that it should be heard by a jury.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

24 Replies to “Judge Refuses To Dismiss Felony Abuse Of Power Case Against Rick Perry”

  1. Good, maybe Perry is not in Kochs’ good graces. Hope Walker is next, what a weasel; although, Daddy Koch will make him look like a saint.

  2. After this ruling, I think Perry needs to fire his entire defense team since by asking for a dismissal of the charges against him, none of them knew that TX law doesn’t permit a trial court judge to dismiss charges in a case in which someone has already been indicted by a grand jury. One would think that these highly paid lawyers would have bothered to research TX law in regard to this matter.

  3. Hell hath no fury like a state full of women who’ve had their birth control banned by a man! I wonder how many of these women will be in that jury box? OOPS! LMAO

  4. djchefron – My thoughts exactly, and every time I see Walker and Christie I wonder if being a lying crook is a requisite for being the republican candidate for president. Romney and Bush’s financial dealings also seem to be very shady.

  5. Its because they’re the party of “no”.
    NO: ethics
    clean air/water
    work ethic
    care for American people

    The party of stupid!

  6. All Republican politicians are little tyrants. These tin soldiers think they can run all over other people’s rights. Send Perry to the pokey. Let him learn democracy from the ground up in the basic inmate experience.

  7. They run around screaming Constitution this, Constitution that, yet they dont have a clue to its meaning and application. They like to conflate the Constitution with the Bible when they dont fully understand the language of law.

    FRIENDSHIP 9, Dr. King is smiling with you!!!!!!!!!

  8. Cant wait to see the video montage of all the gotp governors heading into jail to do their time. It looks to me like the party of “no” is turning into the party of “guilty”.

    The Mcdonnells, Perry, Walker, Christie.

  9. Well hallelujah! The next step is to indict Congress for:

    **disrespecting a sitting president;
    **obstructing everything by the president;
    **not working six years (so far) and stealing $$ from the American people regardless by “punishing us” by not legislating FOR us but AGAINST us;
    **costing us money with each “repeal” of the ACA;
    **costing us money from the gov’t shutdown;
    **taking “dark money” to promote their anti-American agenda;
    **voter suppression;
    **lying about everything and anything;
    **using the Constitution as toilet paper while wrapping themselves in the flag…
    to name a few.

    I’d personally like to see SCOTUS be held accountable for their wrong decisions including Citizens United and McCutcheon, etc., thus selling the country to the highest bidder, in their continuing attempts to buy Congress and to change the United States of America to the corporate states of America with oligarchy rule.

    …and I could go on and on.

  10. The ONLY government housing that Perry should get is one with bars around it, not in it.

    That arrogant bastard actually didn’t think what he did through and wound up committing a felony.

    The current piece of crap that is governor of my fair state is as big a piece of crap as was Perry.


    If they couldn’t cheat, they couldn’t win.

  11. QUESTION: Is there a single politician that is not guilty of a crime of some sort? I don’t see how they can win without cheating and breaking the law.

  12. It’s obvious that Perry hired lawyers who as incompetent, and stupid as he is. Better he should keep them.

  13. Of course Cruz is backing him up, God knows what skeletons are in HIS closet !
    He’s thinking, “pay it forward”.

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