Fourteen lawyers and scholars are set to file a request in state district court on Monday for a dismissal of the felony charges against Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The 14 individuals include some notable figures on both sides of the political aisle — former U.S. Solicitor General Ken Starr and former state Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez, to name a few. According to local media outlet KHOU, Jeff Blackburn — founder of Innocence Project of Texas — will also be participating in the effort. Blackburn regularly works on behalf of defendants who were wrongly convicted.
James Ho, a former Texas solicitor general who is aiding the effort, told KHOU, “It doesn’t matter if we’re Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, we all believe in the Constitution, we all believe in freedom of speech, and we all believe that this prosecution is profoundly mistaken and must be stopped — right now.”
Prosecutors, on the other hand, insist that Perry should go to trial.
Prosecutor Michael McCrum reportedly told State District Judge Bert Richardson — who will consider the dismissal request — to reject the proposal set fourth by the 14 attorneys and academics.
“The defendant argues he did not break the law,” McCrum told Richardson, according to the Austin-American Statesman. “The state alleges he did. This is precisely why the justice system exists: to resolve these types of disputes. His argument is simply one of many attempts to raise every conceivable issue — even those that are unlikely to succeed.”
Perry was indicted this August, in response to his request last year that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resign. Lehmberg was convicted of drunk driving in April 2013.
Perry wanted her to resign, or he would slash $7.5 million in funding for the state’s Public Integrity Unit — which is governed under Lehmberg’s office.
When Lehmberg would not step down, Perry vetoed the funding as he promised.
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