Oops: Rick Perry Forgets Which Criminal Charges He’s Facing

AP
Views

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) erred when trying to name the criminal charges he’s facing during his recent visit to New Hampshire ahead of a potential 2016 presidential bid.

“I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here,” he said, as quoted by ABC News on Friday.

In actuality, Perry was indicted on one count of “abuse of official capacity” and one count of “coercion of a public servant.” Not bribery.

The word bribery is not mentioned in the language of either of the two statutes.

Perry’s progressive opponents, including the group Texans For Public Justice, did want to charge him with bribery — they said so in a June, 2013 complaint, citing a separate Texas statute about bribery. But Perry was never indicted on that count, despite his indication otherwise to ABC News.

“He probably just misspoke,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at UC-Irvine.

The Houston Chronicle, which flagged Perry’s mistake, called to mind the governor’s famous “oops” moment in a debate during his 2012 presidential run when he couldn’t remember the name of one of three federal agencies he wanted to abolish.

Perry emphatically insists he’s innocent of the charges. The indictment has faced strong criticism from progressive and conservative lawyers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK