POLITICS

Rick Perry Calls Indictment 'Abuse Of Power,' Stands By His Actions

08/16/2014 03:21 pm ET | Updated Aug 18, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) spoke about his indictment on Saturday, calling it an "abuse of power."

"I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand by my veto, and I'll continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor," Perry said at a press conference.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," Perry added, calling the indictment "outrageous."

Perry is accused of abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption. The AP reported earlier:

A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit run by the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Lehmberg, a Democrat, was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry's calls to resign.

Though the Republican governor now faces two felony indictments, politics dominates the case. Lehmberg is based in Austin, which is heavily Democratic, in contrast to most of the rest of fiercely conservative Texas. The grand jury was comprised of Austin-area residents.

Perry argued that "the details of my decision-making were very clear," and said he'd fight the charges.

"I said early on that I was going to clearly veto those dollars as long as they had someone in that office who I'd lost confidence in, and I did exactly what I said I would do," Perry said.

Perry then shifted to national issues, saying he would continue to help his state and the nation in his role as governor and blaming the federal government for the border crisis.

Below, more from the AP:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he stands by his veto, and the indictment against him is an outrageous abuse of power

Perry held a news conference Saturday afternoon, a day after a grand jury indicted the Republican on two felony counts of abuse of power for making good on a veto threat.

The possible 2016 presidential hopeful is dismissing the charges as nakedly political. Perry is the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted.

The indictments are related to Perry vetoing funding for a Travis County unit investigating public corruption last year because the Democratic official heading the office to resign after being convicted of drunken driving.

The investigative unit is based in Austin, a heavily Democratic city where the grand jury was seated. The rest of Texas is heavily Republican.

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to clarify a quote from Perry.

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