Defense attorneys have filed a motion to quash and dismiss the indictment of Rick Perry, once again bringing into focus the divisive nature of the charges filed against the Texas Governor.
According to the motion, Perry’s lawyers are banking on the illegal nature of the indictment itself, saying that “[c]ontinued prosecution of Governor Perry on the current indictment is unprecedented, insupportable and simply impermissible. This attempt to criminalize the political process should not be tolerated by this Court or any Texas court. Otherwise, overzealous prosecutors will be given free reign to use the grand jury process to chill political decisions by Texas’ Governors.”
This is the second of two separate sets of motions aimed at getting the case thrown out. The first, a writ of habeas corpus, was filed in late August.
The concern here isn’t that the outcome itself of the trial will affect Perry’s chances at the presidency, but that the legal process will overlap with prime campaign time.
If the case continues deep into 2016 election season, some Republicans who rushed to Perry’s side — including fellow potential 2016 contenders like Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz — could make a different calculation, said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.
“The clock is ultimately the enemy here,” Henson said. “Should he wind up having to go to trial, having a series of court proceedings on this as we’re getting closer or entering the presidential primary season, the situation begins to change, and not for the better for the governor.”
Even if the case is allowed to proceed, Perry’s legal team has a plan to keep things moving:
“I expect there will be other motions filed before any trial occurs,” [lead counsel Tony] Buzbee said after the first motion was filed. “But once they are addressed and if the case is still pending, I will want an immediate trial in front of a jury, and I expect the governor to be completely vindicated because what he did was not only legal, it was right.”
Governor Perry’s team has been doing an awesome job deflecting what has been accepted by analysts on both sides of the aisle as a purely political attack on behalf of the Travis County DA’s office. Perry hit the road immediately following the indictment and booking, and has spent the majority of his time in key electoral states like Iowa and South Carolina.
Although doubling up on motions with the same general premise (the impermissibility of the indictments themselves) may seem repetitive, legally the move makes sense, especially if the court consents to hear both motions at the same time.
“They say the same thing but they’re very different things,” explained Philip H. Hilder, a Houston defense attorney. “The writ is saying the judge doesn’t have the authority to move forward on the indictment, while the motion to dismiss is acknowledging that the court has the authority to act on indictment but it ought to be dismissed as a matter of law.”
In effect, the lawyers are asking the judge to toss the indictments no matter how he rules on the court’s authority to proceed.
Paul Coggins, a Dallas attorney said filing both challenges is just good lawyering.
“If you can’t get through the front door, you go through the back door,” Coggins said. “I think they’re covering their bases.”
Governor Perry’s next day in court is scheduled for mid-October. You can read a copy of his team’s motion to quash and dismiss here, courtesy of the Huffington Post:
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