Update (Aug. 16): Gov. Rick Perry addressed the grand jury's indictments at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on Saturday, calling them a "farce."
“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win,” Perry said. “We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this county.”
Perry said he would explore all legal avenues to bring the issue to a close quickly. Before turning the discussion to the border, Perry defended his decision to veto legislation providing $7.5 million in state funds to the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit, which brought about Friday's indictment.
“I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto and will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor,” Perry said.
Original Story (Aug. 15): A Travis County grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on felony charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant Friday.
The charges against Perry carry punishments of 5-99 years and 2-10 years, respectively, each with fines of up to $10,000.
The charges are related to Perry’s attempts to force the resignation of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after she was arrested for drunken driving in April 2013.
Perry vetoed legislation in June 2013 that would provide $7.5 million in state funds to the district attorney's public integrity unit. He had previously threatened to take such actions against her.
“I cannot in good conscience support continued state funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence,” Perry said at the time.
The Texas Democrats have called for Perry to step down, saying he “has brought dishonor to his office, his family and the state of Texas," in a statement on its website.
Perry, who has served as governor since 2000, decided not to seek reelection and will leave the position when his term ends in January.