Rick Perry: 'We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country'

Rick Perry: 'We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country'
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) addressed his felony charges related to abuse of power in a short press conference this afternoon.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," Perry said. "It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."

A grand jury in Austin indicted Perry on Friday following the governor's 2013 veto of $7.2 million in funding for Travis County's Public Integrity Unit, which investigates corruption by pubic officials. Perry vetoed the funding after threatening to do so in response to District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's refusal to resign after a 2012 drunk driving charge. Lehmberg oversees the Public Integrity Unit, and her supporters say Perry's decision to pull funding amounted to political retribution.

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"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. "This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen. I intend to fight…and I intend to win."

The grand jury indicted Perry on one count of abuse of official capacity, and one count of coercion of a public servant. Both carry the possibility of jail time, if Perry is convicted.

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