Gov. Perry Shows Up to Be 'Processed'
AUSTIN (CN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry was processed on felony charges Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse, where he spoke to a crowd of supporters and media before and after having his mug shot taken.
"I'm here today because I believe in the rule of law," Perry said to cheers of "Perry, Perry, Perry!"
"I'm here today because I did the right thing."
The Republican governor and 2016 presidential hopeful used the moment to say that he was innocent, and that he would enter the courthouse with his head held high, "knowing that the actions I took were not only lawful and legal but right."
"And if I had to do so, I would veto money for the Public Integrity Unit again," Perry said before being escorted into the courthouse by his legal team, led by Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee.
A Travis County grand jury on Friday indicted Perry on two felony counts : abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.
Rumors circulated throughout the day that Perry would make the two-block walk from the governor's mansion to the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center for processing. His office released a statement at 3 p.m. confirming that Perry would appear for processing at 5 p.m.
After processing, Perry again spoke to supporters, saying the indictment was a political act. He called his actions to veto funding of the Public Integrity Unit "lawful, legal and proper."
"Let me be clear: it is our system of constitutional checks and balances that is being challenged here today. This prosecution would seek to erode the power of all Texas Governors - Republican or Democrat. To veto legislation and funding that they deem inappropriate is a chilling restraint on the right to free speech," Perry said.
"I remain focused on the work of the people of this state, doing the job I was elected to do, and I will not be distracted by these baseless political charges."
Perry is scheduled to appear in an Austin courtroom on Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.