Texas governor Rick Perry came out swinging Sunday against felony abuse-of-power charges that could put him in prison for 100 years.
A grand jury in heavily Democratic Austin last week charged Perry, a Republican who ran for president in 2012 and remains a 2016 presidential prospect, with abuse of his office. The charges have been met with pans across the political spectrum, however, with noted Perry opponents including Obama administration advisor David Axelrod, liberal columnist Tim Noah, and even ThinkProgress all voicing skepticism about the charges. Texas has a history of throwing heavy charges at prominent Republicans only to see those cases subsequently fall apart. Former congressman Tom DeLay was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy in 2010 but the conviction was overturned on appeal. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was charged in 1994 with misconduct related to her previous role as state treasurer, but the case was thrown out of court.
Perry has hit back by noting Lehmberg’s “abusiveness,” attacks on police, and need to be restrained during her time in the drunk tank.
Lehmberg’s drunk-driving arrest made headlines around Texas, and video of her behavior while being held has gotten national attention following the Perry indictment.