On Wednesday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) reacted to a district judge’s decision not to dismiss so-called abuse of power charges levied by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg last year and how it would effect his potential 2016 presidential campaign.
Partial transcript as follows:
HANNITY: All right, look, you’re headed to South Carolina, Pennsylvania after you’ve been in Iowa. And you’re going to Iowa a lot. Clearly, you’re thinking about a run for the presidency. You haven’t announced yet. You got this felony indictment hanging over your head, a second chance to dismiss this denied. Where do you stand with this?
PERRY: Well, I think everything’s pretty much going as expected. I mean, I think the judge is being cautious. And you know, what I tell people is I wear this as a badge of honor, standing up for the rule of law and the Constitution.
Every elected executive, whether you’re a governor or whatever, if you’re an executive branch of your government and some outside group, politically motivated, can come in and file a complaint, and you know, they take it to a– in my case, one of the most liberal courts in the state, and are able to return an indictment against a sitting governor for doing what is in my constitutional duty– I mean, clearly, the Constitution is on our side. Clearly, the statutes are on our side. And at the end of the day, we will be well served. And I’m going to stand up for the people of this country and for the rule of law.
HANNITY: What about– the judge that made the ruling yesterday was a Republican and said that Texas law clearly precludes the trial court from making a pretrial determination regarding the constitutionality of a state penal or criminal procedural statute as the statute applies to the particular defendant.
Where does it go from here? Because now you have an appeals process in terms of this ruling, right, that you can now go to a–
PERRY: Yeah. We immediately appealed. And actually, the judge has allowed– both of the counts that he talked about, he found errors with them. So he may be able to address this himself. If not, there’s an immediate appeal process to the third court of appeals. I’m very confident not only I got a great legal team, but we’re the right side of this.
And again, this goes back to a district attorney who actually has oversight of all statewide elected officials in the state of Texas who– she was almost three times the legal limit drunk driving. And then the way she treated law enforcement– I mean, literally– talking about spitting in people’s face, she had to have a spit mask put on her because she was abusing the law enforcement individuals who were booking her into jail.
When I saw that video, I did what I think practically any executive would do, where we had 7.5 million state tax dollars going to the office that she oversaw, and I told them clearly that I had lost all confidence that those dollars would be spent appropriately. I think the people even of Travis County had lost confidence on her. And I didn’t send the money. I vetoed it, just like I’ve done in hundreds of other cases where I didn’t agree with where the money was going. That’s the way the process works, Sean.
HANNITY: Explain how Travis County– they have a history of these types of political suits. In other words, you’re not the only person that has had to– as a conservative, that has had to deal with Travis County. Explain the history.
PERRY: Yeah, the Public Integrity Unit was created back, I think in the ’80s, if my memory serves me correct, to oversee the statewide elected officials, and what have you. As early as the early 1990s, Kay Hutchison, Senator Hutchison was dragged before the district attorney’s office here and drug through the mud. Then we saw Tom Delay, whose career was ended, who spent no telling how many–
HANNITY: And exonerated.
PERRY: –millions of dollars defending hisself, and exonerated in the end, after nine years of being pulled through this. So this is a tactic we’ve seen out of this district attorney’s office for multiple times.
And I’m going to stand up to them. I’m going to stand up not only against what I consider to be an abuse from that particular organization, but also stand up for the people of the state of Texas. I mean, the idea that this can happen, that the process of a governor not being able to veto anything they want for any reason– you have to stand for election. That’s the way the processes work, not to let this thing be–
HANNITY: All right–
PERRY: –persecuted through a prosecution.
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