Gov. Rick Perry was defiant Tuesday as he was booked on abuse of power charges, telling dozens of cheering supporters outside a Texas courthouse that he would “fight this injustice with every fiber of my being.”
Showing no hint of worry on his face, Perry flashed a thin, confident grin beneath perfect hair in his mug shot — then headed to a nearby Austin eatery for vanilla ice cream, even gleefully documenting his excursion via Twitter.
The Republican, who is mulling a second presidential run in 2016, was indicted after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public-corruption prosecutors. He has dismissed the case as a political ploy, and supporters chanting his last name and holding signs — some declaring “Stop Democrat Games” and “Rick is Right” — greeted him upon arriving at a Travis County Courthouse in Austin.
“I’m going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being. And we will prevail,” Perry said before walking inside the building, where he set off a metal detector but didn’t break stride, heading straight to a first-floor office to have his fingerprints taken and stand for the mug shot. In it he’s wearing a blue tie but shed the glasses that have become something of his trademark in recent months.
The longest-serving governor in Texas history was indicted last week for coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public-integrity unit, which investigates wrongdoing by elected officials and is run by the Travis County district attorney’s office. Perry threatened the veto if the county’s Democratic district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, stayed in office after a drunken-driving conviction.
Lehmberg refused to resign, and Perry carried out the veto, drawing an ethics complaint from a left-leaning government watchdog group.
Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin, a liberal bastion in otherwise mostly fiercely conservative Texas.
“I’m going to enter this courthouse with my head held high knowing the actions I took were not only lawful and legal, but right,” Perry told supporters before heading inside the building located just steps from the governor’s mansion.