Gov. Perry Defends Veto Move Despite Indictment
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he will move ahead with his 2016 presidential campaign despite being indicted by a Texas grand jury on felony counts of abuse of power.
Perry is defending his actions, saying he did nothing to deserve an indictment.
"If I had to do it again, I would make exactly the same decision," he told "Fox News Sunday."
Perry cut funding for District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who was arrested on a DUI and then acted belligerently toward police.
For that, he is charged with abusing his powers by "threatening to veto legislation that had been approved and authorized by the legislature of the State of Texas to provide funding for the continued operation of the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney's office unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned from her official position as elected District Attorney."
Lehmberg refused to step down and Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding for Lehmberg's Public Integrity Unit.
"I did what every governor has done for decades, which is make a decision on whether or not it was in the proper use of state money to go to that agency, and I vetoed it," he told "Fox News Sunday."
Liberals as well as conservatives have come out in support of the governor.
"Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment," Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax.
The Wall Street Journal lampooned it as the "Texas Chainsaw Prosecution." Former Obama advisor Daviod Axelrod called the indictment "sketchy."
A Travis County Sheriff's Department video shows Lehmberg failing a sobriety test after being arrested for drunk driving in 2013.
On the video, a policeman can be seen telling her, "[The other arresting officer is] just trying to keep you from tipping over. You don't need to keep slapping his hands away."
Lehmberg became more combative in jail. She is seen on video saying, "Do you know what you are doing? Give me my phone! Give me my purse!"
A deputy tells her, "We've asked you, please stop kicking the door."
Perry said her behavior was unacceptable, noting Lehmberg was "stopped for DWI with a blood alcohol level almost 3 times the legal limit."
Lehmberg pleaded guilty and served 45 days in jail.
"I made a huge mistake and I have spent a lot of time trying to make amends for that," she said.
A grand jury said the governor abused his authority by trying to force Lehmberg out. And he faces his own arraignment this week.