August 22nd, 2014
05:39 PM ET
4 months ago

Perry: ‘I don't really understand the details’ of indictment charges

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he's not familiar with the legal language of the indictment handed up against him by a grand jury in Travis County last week.

"I've been indicted by that same body now for, I think, two counts: One of bribery, which I'm not a lawyer so I don't really understand the details here," he said in a lengthy explanation of the case before a New Hampshire audience.

In New Hampshire, Rick Perry says he's getting prepared

Perry was not indicted for bribery, but counts alleging coercion of a public servant and abuse of power relating to a political controversy.

The case centers on Perry's threat to veto in June 2013 of $7.5 million approved by the Legislature to fund a public integrity unit run by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. He wanted her out, following a drunk-driving arrest. He ultimately vetoed the measure and she refused to leave.

"I made the decision - if I'm going to be held responsible for making decisions about where Texas taxpayer money gets spent - I was not funding that agency," Perry said. "As long as that individual was there, I did not feel comfortable. I think the general public did not feel comfortable."

Arguing that the office "has been politically motivated through the years," Perry said prosecutors were mounting a partisan attack against the governor.

He referenced former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as two Republicans previously indicted in Travis County. (Hutchison was acquitted. DeLay was convicted, but his conviction was overturned.)

"I refer to Travis County as the blueberry in the tomato soup if you know what I mean," Perry said, referring to the liberal-leaning political views in the Austin area, compared to other parts of the reliably red state.

Perry vows to fight the charges, which he and his legal team are framing as a political attack against the Republican governor.

His attorney said Friday at Perry's arraignment hearing, which the governor was not required to attend, that he plans to seek to dismiss the case.

"I think this is an attack on the constitutional duties of a governor. I'm going to fight this with every fiber of my being," he said, saying "the rule of law" was at stake. "It's not lost on me how important this is for our country."


Filed under: 2016 • New Hampshire • Rick Perry
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    “Perry: ‘I don’t really understand the details’ of indictment charges”

    He doesn't understand, and yet he denies any wrongdoing ... Of something he doesn't understand.

    Anyone foolish enough to give money to his campaign (or any campaign that uses the indictment as "proof" of Dem "persecution," deserves to be parted with their cash and duped ONCE AGAIN.

    August 22, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Gov Perry just confirmed that he is not smart enough to be president. Instead of wasting time making campaign appearances, he should take the indictment seriously and spend more time with his attorney.

    August 22, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  3. g

    whats in the drinking water in Texas --

    August 22, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    Well, since he doesn't seem to understand much of anything else, color me not surprised. hope the charges stick.

    August 22, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  5. bcrunner

    Another OOOPS!!!!!!!!

    August 22, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  6. aaron

    If Perry is so bent against public officials getting DUIs, why did he support W Bush, who was TX governor and president, and had MULTIPLE DUIs? If he's all supportive of drunk driving Repubs, then uses his office to try and strong arm out drunk driving Dems, then that is certainly abuse of power.

    August 23, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. Bubba

    If Perry does not understand; maybe he can get a fellow Texan to read it to him. No wait, finding a Texan that can read if more difficult than finding water on Mars. But then they did find a little water on Mars.

    August 23, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Smitty
    Its an Obumbles move, drunk prosecuter wasting tax payer money. Go get them Mr. Perry !! Its clear that Obumbles and the dems cannot handle running America.

    Not sure if this is left wing sarcasm, or right wing psychosis. I'm tired right now and ready for bed... Good Night all!

    August 23, 2014 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  9. rick

    The special Prosecutor Mike McCrum, a democrat Accused of Witness Tampering

    August 23, 2014 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  10. Maripil

    Perry is nothing but DUMB and DUMBER!! The cowboy does not even know he has been indicted! What a SHAME!!

    August 23, 2014 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  11. GI Joe

    Snitty - There are 2 (TWO) republican DAs that were also arrested for DUIs. He didn't try to railroad then out of office.

    PRESIDENT Obama had nothing to do with it. Perry tried to blackmail and bribe his way out of unjustly calling for a Democrat to resign. Grow up and stop calling people Jr. High names.

    August 23, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    I wonder how many other elected officials in Texas have gotten DUI's while Perry was in office? Occam's Razor holds that the simplest answer is most often correct, and in this case the simplest answer is that a crooked governor seized an opportunity to remove a pesky ethics investigator who was investigating the crooked governor's crooked activities.

    August 23, 2014 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  13. Buzz

    "Which I'm not a lawyer" ???? It's obvious that the public funding to educate this clown have been terribly wasted.

    August 23, 2014 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. Franny

    Smitty, why didn't Perry go after two other Texas DAs? Because they were Republicans. Slick Rick Perry has been a horrible Governor for the past 14 years. Perry believes he is above the law, and too much power has also caused this Governor to send an innocent man to death. Tip of the iceberg when it comes to Goodhair Perry! There's no telling how much more corruption they will find if they start digging at what appears to be even more abuses! If you don't live in Texas? You haven't a clue!

    August 23, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

    Ever hear of any republican who accepted responsibility for his misdeeds, instead of blaming someone else? Me neither. It's always someone else's fault for catching them.

    August 23, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. Gunderson

    Um, Rick,
    Maybe that Public Attorney learn not have half empty jug vodka in car. maybe she learn something. I see Food Stamp fraud on the rise. Now that is what need attention! I see Civil Right's attorney's chomping at bit to represent all those border jumpers, at your expense! Remind me of what they do to horse thieves out in old west. We need some rope and a sturdy tree!!

    August 23, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Lizzie

    Don and Sniffit, yes you are lawyers and understand all that mambo jumbo, that's written in lawyers terms. Just like democrats understood all that mambo jumbo that's written in the 2500 pages of the ACA, oh sorry they did not read it.

    August 23, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. vikingwoman

    I'm an Austinite who's proud to be a 'blueberry'! Goodhair has done a lot for Texans...the rich ones, that is! The rest of us have a lot of minimum wage (& I mean $7:25hr), 25 hrs a week jobs to pick from, most of us having 2-3 of those to support our families! The fact that he doesn't understand his indictment should be a huge red (as it were) flag for anyone thinking he's a good prospect for presidential candidacy!!

    August 23, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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