Governor Rick Perry of Texas on Sunday doubled down on his fierce criticism of his indictment on two counts of alleged abuse of power, saying of the decision that brought about the charges: “If I had to do this again I would make exactly the same decision.”
Perry, a presumed candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, was indicted on Friday by a Travis County grand jury, for carrying out a threat to veto $7.5m (£4.5m) of funds for the county’s district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat who refused to resign after being arrested for drunk-driving. The charges against Perry carry potential punishments including jail sentences of between two and 99 years.
On Saturday in Austin the governor delivered an angry statement to the press, in which he called the indictment “a farce of a prosecution” and said: “It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution.”
On Sunday, speaking to Fox News, Perry discussed Lehmberg’s arrest and a video of its aftermath that went viral and said: “When you look at that, and you have to make a decision on whether $7.5m of Texas taxpayer money is going to go to the unit that she oversees, I very clearly and very publicly said that as long as that individual is running that agency, I have lost confidence in her, the public had lost confidence in her, and I did what every governor has done for decades, which was make a decision about whether or not it was proper for state money to go to that agency and I vetoed it.