Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) reacted with anger and defiance on Saturday to the news that he’d been indicted by a grand jury on two felony counts of abusing his power as governor.
At a news conference in Austin, Texas, Perry attempted to turn the tables on his accusers, calling the prosecution a “farce” and vowing that it would be exposed as such.
“This indictment amounts to nothing more than abuse of power. And I cannot and I will not allow that to happen,” Perry said.
The charges, which were revealed late Friday, alleged that the governor broke the law by vetoing the $7.5 million budget of the state’s public integrity unit in an attempt to force the head of the unit, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, to resign. Perry had threatened the veto following an April 2013 incident in which Lehmberg was arrested for drunken driving. The episode was partially caught on video.
“I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically,” Perry said on Saturday.
He promised to fight the indictment and bring the matter to “a swift conclusion.”
“This farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is,” the governor said, “and those responsible will be held accountable.”