Texas Gov. Rick Perry, indicted late Friday
on abuse of power charges, said he would make the same decision if the situation repeated itself.
Perry is accused of threatening to withhold funding from the Travis County District Attorney's Office after D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated and seen in a police station video kicking a door and demanding to see the sheriff.
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"This is not the way we settle differences — political differences — in this country," Perry said of the indictment in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "You don't do it with indictments. We settle our political differences at the ballot box."
The two felony counts of abuse of power against Perry could result in up to 99 years in prison if he is convicted. Perry told Fox News he takes the rule of law seriously, but doesn't believe he has broken any laws.
Instead, he said, he had done the same thing governors have done for decades.
"I very clearly, I very publicly said that as long as that individual was going to be running that agency, I had lost confidence in her, the public had lost confidence in her," he said.
The indictment does not deal with Perry's veto of $7.5 million in funding for the D.A. office's public integrity unit. He is legally entitled to veto any law passed by the Texas Legislature.
Instead, the charges are based on Perry's public statements threatening to withhold the funds if Lehmberg refused to resign. That action constituted using his official capacity to coerce a public servant, the indictment claims.
Texas A&M University presidential scholar George Edwards III
told Newsmax that Perry "shot himself in the foot" by using the tactic.
But Perry pointed out that liberals such as David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, and Alan Dershowitz, noted Harvard Law professor, have called the Perry indictment politically questionable.
"Look at the video of Ms. Lehmberg when she was being booked into the county jail, the abusiveness," Perry told Fox News. "She was kicking on the door, she was abusing the law officials. She had to be restrained."
Perry addressed the actual veto and not his threat to withhold funds on Sunday, but said he has no regrets.
"If I had to do it again I would make exactly the same decision," he said.
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