Image 01 Image 03

Meet Rick Perry’s Legal Team

Meet Rick Perry’s Legal Team

Lawyers, assemble!

The recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry has drawn the ridicule and ire of pundits and analysts from both sides of the aisle (even David Axelrod thinks the indictment is “sketchy,”) but Team Perry isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the Governor’s legal defense.

Perry has hand-picked his counsel from the A-list of defense lawyers.

The team, led by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, seems to be in complete control of the stacked deck of evidence suggesting that not only was Perry justified in threatening to veto funding from the (now-ironically named) Public Integrity Unit, but that it would have been a scandal not to do so.

Via CNN:

“Governor Perry did what anyone else would do,” Buzbee said. “Anyone who sees that video” would have “lost confidence” in Lehmberg.

That said, the lawyers argued that the governor had no legal obligation to offer any rationale for his veto, which they insisted was protected the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers.

“This is nothing more than banana republic politics” and a “nasty attack” on the “rule of law,” Buzbee insisted.

And Perry’s explanation of his veto, Buzbee added, was protected under the “right to free speech under the First Amendment.”

Birchfield called the indictment “an attempt to criminalize politics, pure and simple,” while Ginsberg warned that it could “set a harmful precedent in separation of powers doctrine.”

D.C.-based courtroom lawyer Bobby Birchfield is absolutely right, and hits the nail on the head with his emphasis on the separation of powers. Especially in this aspect, the rule of law is on Governor Perry’s side. As Buzbee said in the press conference, the Governor had no legal obligation to provide anyone with an explanation of his line-item veto targeting PIU funding (although you can find analysis for most gubernatorial vetoes in Texas here.)

The fact that he did indeed speak out against Rosemary Lehmberg’s misconduct was not only protected by the First Amendment, but a public service: the people have a right to know when the person prosecuting her fellow citizens ends up face first in a bottle of vodka behind the wheel of a car. Most importantly, the fact that the Governor offered rationale for his veto does not negate the Constitutional protections given the Governor with regards to his veto power.

Although Perry’s team did acknowledge that at some point the Governor will have to appear in court, they’re not mincing words when it comes to transparency. During the press conference, the team did not shy away from the reality of the criminal indictment, and indicated that they would keep the press informed as the case progresses.

Governor Perry’s first appearance in court is scheduled for August 29th.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Seems to me this is dignifying it beyond what it deserves, and also a waste of money. Perry should have had the most junior lawyer in his office file a one-page motion to dismiss, or two pages if written in crayon. Perhaps accompanied by a fully cited request for sanctions against McCrum.

    tarheelkate in reply to Milhouse. | August 19, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Can’t agree with that. Travis County is the outfit that took down Tom DeLay and House Republican leadership over bogus charges. A jury in that area is quite capable of convicting on these preposterous charges since it’s all politics. The situation needs to be taken seriously.

    Ragspierre in reply to Milhouse. | August 19, 2014 at 9:07 am

    There really is no such thing as criminal law pretrial dismissal in Texas. There are motions citing the court to a procedural flaw in the prosecution’s case, but they generally just heal those flaws and then you go to trial.

    Now, the prosecutor CAN…and here SHOULD…move the court to dismiss. But even that is still a request made to the judge.

    If Chuck Skinner is around, he can correct me, as can anyone else who knows criminal procedure better than me.

    Gov. Perry is doing the right and smart thing. This case could set a precedent that would be horrible for Texas governance.

      sequester in reply to Ragspierre. | August 19, 2014 at 10:50 am

      My understanding is that Governor Perry could be convicted of criminally emitting greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) without a permit, by a Travis County Jury. The hate runs that deep.

      If dismissal is procedurally impossible, the case has to be moved.

        sequester in reply to sequester. | August 19, 2014 at 11:23 am

        Rags has pointed out, that in Texas an indictment can only be dismissed on a “MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT FOR IMPROPER GRAND JURY PROCEDURES”, or on Motion of the Prosecutor. That is a very different and less flexible standard than many other states.

        I recall a clean cut young graduate student caught up in a crime sweep standing before a judge in New York one fine morning. The Judge said, “You look like a respectable fellow – what happened?” After a brief explanation the judge said “Dismissed” and proceeded to rebuke the prosecutor. After that the judge said “Next”.

        New York’s criminal justice system would grind to a halt with the Texas standards. New York allows an indictment to be dismissed on a host of grounds including in furtherance of justice or as could be used here “The evidence before the grand jury was not legally sufficient to
        establish the offense charged or any lesser included .. offense”…

        You guys in Texas do it the hard way.

          Ragspierre in reply to sequester. | August 19, 2014 at 11:44 am

          The Texas way…long and hard…

          persecutor in reply to sequester. | August 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm

          I agree–in NY we’d at least have the opportunity for a dismissal based on a review of the GJ minutes in chambers for sufficiency.

          If it were me, I’d move for an immediate trial after getting my discovery and a review of the minutes–we know that it’d be a rare day that the minutes didn’t have enough to hold the indictment in at some level.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Ragspierre. | August 19, 2014 at 11:08 am

      If this case does, in some strange manner, proceed and set a terrible precedence for Texas governance, we do have recourse.

      We could get the Republican legislature to move the capital to Midland. The Midland County DA could have every Democrat in the state doing 25-life in six months! Maybe less.

        The problem is does the legislature have the back-bone to do this ?

        What kind of republican’s are in Travis county ? When they go after their own.

          EricIT in reply to oldman51. | August 19, 2014 at 9:27 pm

          No, the legislature doesn’t have the backbone. 🙁 We can only hope that they have the backbone to pull the state Public Integrity Unit out of the Travis County DA’s office and put it at the state level.

          As to point two: Travis County is home to the state capital, Austin, hence the state bureaucracy and also Univ of Texas. Hence it is a Democrat county, not Republican. The county commmissioners spend the time trying to ban gun shows (this was another show down between the Republican State AG and the Dem Commissioners).

          One of the back stories to this bogus prosecution of Perry is that since the Travis County DA is also head of the state Public Integrity Unit, it is probably the most powerful state level office that the Democrats still hold, and useful to launch vendettas against Republicans, from Hutchison back in the 90s thru Tom Delay and several others to Rick Perry today. In the end they all turn out bogus, but they cause political damage. If the Drunken DA (Lehmberg) had resigned for her sins, as anyone with speck of conscience would have done, the governor — Rick Perry — would have appointed her replacement. Obviously the Democrats couldn’t let that happen.

      Sorry for the delay. I’m on vacation and replying from my iPhone, so I apologize for auto-corrects that don’t get caught.

      The Judges decision to dismiss depends on the nature of the procedural flaw present. If it is a procedural flaw that prevents presentation of a required element of the charge, the Judges are usually pretty good at weeding those out on motion of Defense Counsel.

      Where I like to try to win early is on evidence suppression motions, but that really doesn’t a apply here. More likely there will be some advance motion for hearing on competency of the court to hear the case to begin with, given the separation of powers involved and the Executive Branch nature of the underlying Conflict.

      The question will be if a county office can seek an indictment for a sitting governor on a charge of performing a duty arguably within his statutorily granted powers, regardless of his reasons, or if that is solely the purview of the legislature under impeachment. That alone will probably have to go on interlocutory appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas prior to the matter proceeding to trial on the merits.

      Beyond that, the “special prosecutor” can always move for a dismissal, claiming that the “evidence is inadequate to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.” But there does not appear to be anyone who can “force” him to do so, except perhaps the AG, as the top law enforcement officer in the State.

        sequester in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 20, 2014 at 9:11 am

        Texas justice is a little different from other States so I don’t have a sense of the law. What you suggest does seem like a face saving way out for all concerned.

        In most States the veto is considered a plenary power of the Governor, and not subject to review elsewhere. It follows that the publicly expressed reasons for the veto are part of that power.

        Is a veto considered a plenary power of the Governor in the State of Texas?

    Hell, the Clownselor can whip you up a motion to dismiss in 15 minutes if all you need is crayon.

      Paul in reply to Gus. | August 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Yeah, they’d ask you to do it ShortBus, but everyone knows you can’t keep it between the lines.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Milhouse. | August 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

    In Travis County, you could get a jury to convict the Crack of Dawn for public lewdness, if you could prove it was Republican.

    That is not an exaggeration.

The legalities probably don’t matter, regardless of outcome.

From now on, to the MSM, his name may as well be Indicted Rick Perry.

    rinardman in reply to rinardman. | August 19, 2014 at 9:17 am

    To clarify: the preceding is in regards to Perry, not a bad precedence for governance.

    Ragspierre in reply to rinardman. | August 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

    In another circumstance, perhaps. Too many Collectivists agree with the right side this time.

    Somebody REALLY pooed the scruch on this one…!!!

I think Perry is in the right place at the right time: Standing up for the rule of law, the First Amendment, separation of powers.

He is our proxy and may end up our president.

    Paul in reply to betty. | August 19, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I agree that the stars seem to be aligning for him at them moment, but 27 months is a LONG time.

    Gus in reply to betty. | August 19, 2014 at 10:51 am

    “He is our proxy and may end up our president.”

    Too funny.

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Gus. | August 19, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Hey, folks! Don’t down-vote ShortBus Gus.

      If he gets 10 down-votes, his handlers at KOS slip him another rock. And he appears to be Jones-ing bad this morning! 😆

        Yes, TinkerbellJaneSmith, you and totally heterosexual Gov. Goodhair are bound to ride on into the WH in a blaze of leather straps and poppers.

          JoAnne in reply to Gus. | August 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm

          OK, you are more than tiresome. You are vile. If you think that you are representing your side, well, you are. You are confirming everything I believe about Progressives. Now grow up – no one here minds if you disagree but do it with some thought behind it – if you’re capable of thinking.

        Ragspierre in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | August 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        See, I know GuZ from long ago.

        He is seriously afflicted with a deep, dark dementia that he has simmered up from pure hate.

        He personally is as queer as he wants to be, and he has no problem projecting that on people he hates.

        What he REALLY does not get is that a few emails from posters here would get him banned on this site, and that nobody thinks he’s funny, valuable or anything but an idiot troll.

Well, only if you are a Collectivist is it even “bad judgment”. But, hey… This is the NYTimes. And at least they’re getting SOMETHING right.

To sane people, it’s just sound government.

Maybe Texas doesn’t allow a Judge to dismiss a grand jury out of respect for the indictment made by it’s citizens. While this appears to make it long and hard it might stop a partisan official from over riding a grand jury of texas citizens. It’s a two way street!

Maybe the recourse is to reimburse the cost to the state of Texas out of the Travis County budget. Call it “Loser Pays”!

    Generally that’s not the problem. A Judge CAN dismiss. Constitutionally (Texas) they have “inherent powers” that FAR exceed just about anything else in government. They don’t dismiss, sua sponte, for the most part because they don’t want to face the Public’s ire at election time if they get it wrong.

    Here, as I said above, I think we’re going to have a Court of Criminal Appeals opinion on Jurisdiction to hear the case at all.

      Ragspierre in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      I think this is exactly right, and will be where this thing has its brief life and dies quickly…to the gratification of everyone, not least of which are the idiots who ginned this up.

      A jurisdictional challenge when raised HAS to be determined FIRST, because nothing a court can do after that has any meaning if it lacks jurisdiction. The only thing a court CAN do if it considers and supports a jurisdictional challenge is wish everyone a good day (dismiss).

      Plus, a jurisdictional challenge can NEVER be waived. It can be raised for the first time on appeal, and if there ain’t no power for a court to act, everything it did is just gone.

Henry Hawkins | August 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Governor Perry needs to:

-Hire some civil rights attorneys and make this a race thang

-Get some GOP precinct captains to round up some, ahem, ‘demonstrators’ to riot and loot the business district closest to the capital

-Pass out signs reading: “No Justice No Peace!” and “We Shall Overcome!”

-Entice Reverends Jackson and Sharpton in with promises of lots of air time

-Photoshop up and tweet out some fake pics of Rosemary Lehmberg in compromising positions with assorted farm animals

-Appeal for help from Eric Holder and the DOJ based on the injustice inherent to local government in Texas, and the compliment that nobody crams justice down people’s throats like the feds.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    “-Photoshop up and tweet out some fake pics of Rosemary Lehmberg in compromising positions with assorted farm animals”
    Why do you need to photoshop some fake pics?

MouseTheLuckyDog | August 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm

An interesting question, if Perry runs for pres and wins and then he is found guilty, what happens?

    Ragspierre in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | August 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I rarely make predictions, but this won’t last but a short while. At this point EVERYBODY wants it to go away…well, except for the fund-raisers for PerryPAC or whatever it’s called. They’re in tall cotton.

    Even Texas Deemocrats are going to start publicly distancing themselves from this like six-day old road kill in August. There just ain’t no “pretty” on this.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Ragspierre. | August 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Still poses an interesting question. Suppose a person is brought to trial on a bogus charge and is convicted after he becomes president?

        He can then pardon himself.

        Unless and until Congress impeaches and the Senate convicts, he stays in office. There is no way to prosecute a President out of office; impeachment is all there is, and that’s political, not legal.

        Theoretically, because it has never actually occurred, a President under a criminal sentence would have to have a “suspension” of that sentence for the duration of his presidency, to be served once the presidency had ended. It actually happens from time to time when there are other circumstances that warrant it. This would just be a much longer version of that application of delayed sentence.

        I suppose that technically during any stated “vacation” he might be somehow required to come and serve jail time, but I can’t see any reasonable jail or prison official
        wanting to put up with the secret service protection hassle, and it’s likely the next Governor of Texas would simply pardon him anyway on application to the TX Board of Pardons and Paroles. The President could not pardon himself, because it is a State crime, not a Federal one, and thus the Governor controls.

Henry Hawkins | August 20, 2014 at 12:35 pm