Former House majority leader Tom DeLay has accused the prosecutor's office of waging “a vendetta” against Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
Delay, who was once indicted by the same Travis County DA’s office, told
that the abuse of power charges were another example of the “criminalization of politics” and called it a “conspiracy.”
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He claimed that the indictment by a grand jury in Austin was political payback after the governor had tried to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to quit after she had been convicted of drunk driving
“There is no doubt [the case] is politically motivated,” he said. “Once again, the district attorney of Travis County presented a case, not unlike mine, that was very weak, if it was a case at all. It’s a conspiracy to use the legal system to politicize politics.”
DeLay was indicted in 2005 by a Travis County grand jury for allegedly conspiring to break election laws three years earlier in a case that involved charges of money laundering.
He was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison, but remained free on bail pending appeal. Last year the Texas Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence was “legally insufficient” and threw out the case.
Perry was indicted last week in Democratic-leaning Travis County on charges he abused the powers of his office by misusing "government property, services or personnel," and by engaging in coercion, a crime similar to bribery.
The charges have been linked to the drunk driving arrest in April last year of the county’s district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg. She acted belligerently to the arresting officers and was found with a bottle of vodka in her care, while her blood alcohol level was nearly three times over the legal limit.
Calling her actions "deplorable," a judge sentenced her to 45 days in jail, and she served 21 days.
After the sentence, Perry vowed to pull the funding for the integrity unit of Lehmberg’s office unless she quit, saying that she was not fit to be in charge of the department.
When she refused to resign, Perry withdrew the funding for the integrity agency that the Texas GOP has often claimed was basically engaged in politicized prosecutions.
DeLay suggested that Democrats in Washington may be trying to force Perry out of the 2016 presidential race, while comparing it to the time in the 1990s when House Democrats Nancy Pelosi of California, and Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, attempted to oust him from Congress, Fox News reported.
“Democrats love what’s going on,” he said. “They used the legal system to take me out. It is a conspiracy to use the legal system to criminalize politics.”
DeLay, who served as a Texas representative form 1984-2006 and was House majority leader from 2003-2005, warned Perry that he should not take the case lightly, even though legal experts believe that the charges will never hold up in a court of law.
“You better take this seriously,” he said. “All of the judges are Democrats. And we polled 300 jurors, and the best I got was a Green Peace activist.”
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