Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday that his indictment on abuse-of-power charges is a “farce of a prosecution” and amounts to “partisan political theatrics.”
“We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country,” the three-term Republican governor said in his first appearance since charged by a grand jury Friday.
Perry is accused of abusing his office by vetoing funds for the Travis County district attorney, a Democrat. A grand jury convened by a special prosecutor handed up the indictment late Friday.
Perry said he blocked the $7.5 million line item because the head of the office, Rosemary Lehmberg, was convicted of drunken driving and refused his calls to step down. Lehmberg also runs the state agency responsible for investigating corruption in state government, and the funding Perry vetoed was specifically for the public integrity unit.
“Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically,” Perry said.
Perry said he would continue to serve out his final term as governor but did not address his future plans. He was a 2012 candidate for the GOP presidential nomination and has not ruled out a run in 2016.