Rick Perry's political enemies, galled by the Texas governor's popularity and success running America's second-largest state, are using the criminal justice system to get the result that has eluded them at the ballot box, a Perry supporter and confidante told Newsmax TV
Steve Cortes, a CNBC contributor and investment research executive, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that Perry's indictment on Friday for alleged abuse of power by a special prosecutor in San Antonio is an effort to "use criminal law as a smear campaign" and to "criminalize political differences."
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Democratic prosecutors in Texas have a history of targeting Republicans in office.
He cited past cases against former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was acquitted of misusing government resources, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose conviction for campaign finance violations was later overturned.
He said the Perry indictment, which arose from a clash between the governor and the Democratic district attorney
of Travis County, proves Lone Star Democrats are "frustrated at their inability to sway Texas policy."
Cortes said the indictment is also an effort to change the "real story" about Perry: a popular three-term governor who has presided over a surging state economy; a national leader in the effort to solve the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; and a renewed Republican presidential prospect.
"He has really been dominating the news cycle," said Cortes.
Cortes said Perry's legal worries are an unwanted and badly timed distraction from his work as governor and his efforts to rebound from a sub-par presidential primary showing in 2012.
But he said the indictment — denounced by conservatives and progressives alike as a political witch-hunt — could ultimately boost him
as a sympathetic figure and a national candidate.
"My suspicion is, he is running," said Cortes, "and he will win."
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