Rick Perry may have had a successful political weekend in Iowa, but when it comes to legal issues, the former Texas Governor’s troubles are just as real as ever.
Last year, a grand jury indicted Governor Perry on two felony counts over abuse of power allegations; since then, Perry and his legal team have made several futile attempts to convince a judge to dismiss the indictment—and they just lost another round, meaning that for the time being, the indictment stands, and the criminal case will be allowed to drag on.
From the Austin-American Statesman:
The ruling by Judge Bert Richardson, a San Antonio Republican, comes five months after Perry’s attorneys filed the writ of habeas corpus, a sign of the slow speed at which the case is churning through the criminal justice system. Immediately after the ruling, Perry’s attorneys filed formal documents appealing the ruling to the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals, a process that could take several months and stall possible resolution of the case.
Attorneys for Perry, who as of last month had spent $1 million in campaign money for his defense, had said in the request that Richardson should dismiss the charge and largely cited “Constitutional grounds.”
The petition contended the “Texas Constitution imposes no limits on the governor’s right and duty to veto; he exercises unbounded discretion in exercising his veto power, subject only to the Legislature’s right to override that veto,” among many other claims.
They also said the prosecution threatens to violate Constitutional separation of powers and said that Perry, in vetoing the money, was acting in his legislative capacity.
“Nothing in the Texas Constitution or law permits the judicial department to scrutinize Gov. Perry’s legal decision,” the September filing said.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum replied in a written response that a jury should weigh evidence against Perry.
“The defendant argues he did not break the law. The state alleges he did. This is precisely why the justice system exists: to resolve these types of disputes,” McCrum told Richardson in a November filing.
Same story, different ruling.
Perry hasn’t let his legal troubles get in the way of his presidential aspirations. I wrote previously about how having Perry in the 2016 mix has actually raised the bar for other candidates:
Balance is key to building a foundational voter base, and Perry has it in spades. From his commitment to job growth, to his focus on implementing diversion programs for non-violent drug offenders, Perry has done a great deal of work over the past few years convincing people that, while talking points make for snappy Facebook posts, the real red meat comes from governing.
Still, Republicans enjoy the deepest bench they’ve had in at least two cycles, so an eventual Perry/[Choose Your Own Adventure] ticket isn’t anywhere near a certainty. But for now, conservatives should take comfort in knowing that at least one candidate circling the ring knows how to win friends and govern his way to success.
Could this indictment get in the way of a successful campaign? Absolutely. But for now, Perry’s team is doing a good job playing media ninja with what would probably have been a career-ending scandal for a lesser figurehead.DONATE
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