Rick Perry Reacts to Judge Bert Richardson’s Ruling to Continue With Criminal Case
This week Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Bert Richardson (R) refused to throw out former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s case on grounds of unconstitutionality.
The former governor was indicted on charges of coercion of a public servant and abuse of power in August, 2014, after threatening to veto and then vetoing funding to a Travis County Public Corruption Unit after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following conviction of a DWI charge.
Following the Tuesday, January 27, decision, Tony Buzbee – lead counselor to Perry’s legal team – released the following statement:
Governor Perry acted lawfully and properly exercised his power under the law as Governor to protect the public safety and integrity of government. Continued prosecution of Governor Perry is an outrage and sets a dangerous precedent in our Democracy. America’s commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law is at stake in this case, which is why we will immediately appeal this decision to the Third District Court of Appeals.”
U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz said the case was frivolous and said the case is little more than a political witch-hunt determined to undermine the former governors potential presidential bid.
“It is not a crime for a governor to exercise his constitutional authority to veto legislation,” said Cruz. “The indictment is frivolous—and consistent with the Travis County DA Office’s sorry history of politicized prosecutions. The district court’s decision to allow this case to proceed is both unfortunate and wrong, and it profoundly undermines the rule of law.”
Austin-based non-profit Texans for Public Justice filed the criminal complaint against Perry in July, 2014.
TPJ director Craig McDonald released a statement Tuesday, January 27, following Richardson’s decision:
Rick Perry, his high-priced legal team and out-of-state pundits have long argued that Perry's indictments are so flimsy that they will not stand up in court. Today a top GOP judge again refused to dismiss the case. 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”
Lehmberg maintains her position as Travis County District Attorney; her term is set to end in 2016.
Judge Richardson previously ruled that the case should not be thrown out over technicalities raised by Perry's defense in November.
Although reactions to the case have been mixed and many believe the indictment could ruin the former governor’s potential 2016 presidential-bid, Perry himself said at a press conference on Wednesday, “Americans are looking for a leader that is not afraid to stand up; to not be intimidated. Standing up for the rule of law and standing up for the United States Constitution is a good thing.”
Perry said he would continue with preparations for a potential presidential bid.