Under a celebratory, almost victorious atmosphere, a defiant Texas governor Rick Perry arrived at the Travis County justice complex in Austin, Texas, this afternoon and spoke to a cheering crowd before entering the courthouse to be booked, fingerprinted and having his mug shot taken.
Perry exited the booking room about 20 minutes later, spoke again to a cheering crowd, and left.
CBS News reports that shortly thereafter Perry posted a photo of himself at an ice cream store on Twitter.
The Austin American-Statesman reports:
A state district judge has set an arraignment date for Governor Rick Perry for August 29, officials said today. Under state law, Perry does not have to be present, but may still attend. Meanwhile, a judge has granted a personal bond to Perry, which means he will have to pay only a $20 fee for his release once he surrenders to the Travis County Jail. The judge granted the bond after the prosecutor and Perry’s attorney agreed a personal bond was appropriate, officials said.
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The all hat and no cattle governor of Texas has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury on two felony counts stemming from his alleged attempt to use his veto powers to pressure an elected official — Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg — to step down by threatening to cut off $7.5 million in state funding for a public corruption unit in her office.
According to the New York Times, “Ms. Lehmberg is Austin’s top prosecutor and oversees a powerful public corruption unit that investigates state, local and federal officials; its work led to the 2005 indictment of a former Republican congressman, Tom DeLay, on charges of violating campaign finance laws.”
The governor’s hometown newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, says that some Democrats are calling for Perry to step down:
“For the sake of Texas, Governor Perry should resign following his indictment on two criminal felony counts involving abuse of office,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said: “Governor Rick Perry has brought dishonor to his office, his family and the state of Texas.”
“The charge of abuse of official capacity carries a prison sentence of five to 99 years, and the charge of coercion of a public servant a two- to 10-year prison sentence, says the Times.
If the governor is treated like any other person charged with a felony, Perry will have to surrender to the Travis County jail where he would be booked, have a mug shot taken and be fingerprinted.
It remains to be seen how this latest — and somewhat more serious “oops” — will affect Perry’s ambitions to run for the U.S. presidency and, more important, his chances to succeed should he decide to run.
Perry is the first Texas governor in nearly a century to face criminal charges.
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