Rick Perry failed in 2012 to obtain the Republican Presidential nomination. No one with political savvy believes he is not going to run again in 2016. However, before it has even started, his White House ambitions may have hit a bump in the road. A Judge announced today that he will not dismiss the felony charges facing Perry.
District Judge Bert Richardson denied a petition by Perry’s legal team to dismiss charges based on a technicality which occurred at the original hearing. They also claim that the indictment is politically motivated; the original incident involved a district attorney who is a Democrat.
In 2013 Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested while driving under the influence of alcohol. Video tape from the officer’s vehicle revealed an intoxicated Ms. Lehmberg verbally harassing the officers. After court-ordered jail time and counseling, she returned to her job. Perry called for her resignation. When she refused, he vetoed a 7.5 million dollar fund targeted for a public integrity fund, chaired by Lehmberg. A Grand Jury decided that Perry used his veto power improperly, and had attempted to coerce Lehmberg’s resignation; they indicted the Texas Governor on felony charges. If convicted, the maximum penalty is over 100 years in prison.
In the time which has passed, Perry changed the focus from Lehmberg’s involvement with the law to a constitutional battle. He is claiming that he was within the boundaries of the State’s Constitution when he vetoed the resources which were previously targeted for the fund.
The Texas State Democratic Party has called for the Governor to remove himself from office.
Perry has maneuvered the entire situation into a political campaign. It bodes well in Texas, but lacks impact in the other 49 states.
Perry’s request for dismissal involved special prosecutor Michael McCrum. When Mr. McCrum took the oath of office in 2013, he failed to sign the document. Perry’s team ascertains that all actions McCrum was involved in during the last 15 months should be negated. Judge Richardson disagreed. Because both parties had previously agreed that he had been sworn in correctly, the act itself was all that was required.
Rick Perry became Texas’ Governor in 2000 when George W. Bush ran for his first term as president. Many of his actions as Governor have been questioned. Although he ran on a platform of ‘fiscal responsibility,’ and signed Lobbyist Grover Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes, he has been forced to raise taxes and increase the debt limits. Perry has denounced the Affordable Care Act as ‘socialism,’ although he has medical and retirement benefits for life. Perry was a strong supporter of the ‘Defense of Marriage Act,’ and attempted to pass a state law with nearly identical wording. Like his predecessor, George W. Bush, Perry is passionate about the death penalty. Since he first took office in 2002, 278 inmates have been executed as of September of this year. He has been criticized for not intervening in several highly debated cases. He is the poster boy for the NRA Lobby.
No date has been set for a trial.
By James Turnage