Rick Perry PAC Spot Includes Video of DA's Arrest

Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 05:57 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry's political action committee released a video Tuesday featuring footage from Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's arrest on a drunken-driving charge last year, which led Perry to veto funds for the state's public integrity unit overseen by her office.

RickPAC said it released the video "in light of the ongoing political witch hunt" of Perry. The video is called "Setting the Record Straight." News of the release was reported by The Hill.

Story continues below video.

Perry, 64, a Republican who is considering a White House run in 2016, was indicted Friday on charges of coercion and official oppression that carry a maximum sentence of 109 years in prison.

The charges stem from Perry's carrying out a threat to veto funding for the unit. He refused the money after Lehmberg spurned his calls to resign after she pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

Lehmberg served about half of a 45-day sentence and paid a $4,000 fine in the plea deal. She was arrested at shortly before midnight on April 12, 2013.

Perry, who became the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted, has strongly defended his veto and denied wrongdoing. He is expected to be arraigned on Friday — and the governor has assembled a high-powered legal time for his defense.

Felix Browne, a spokesman for the governor, said Perry would not need to appear personally in court for his arraignment.

In the video released by RickPAC, Lehmberg is seen failing a sobriety test, kicking at a door in a sheriff's department holding cell, showing her arms and hands restrained while in custody — and with her face covered because she tried to spit on law officers.

"From putting people behind bars to being behind bars herself," an announcer says in the video as footage shows Lehmberg being led into custody after her trial.

"As DA, you need someone you can trust to see that justice is administered fairly," Lehmberg says in footage shown at the start of the video. "The mission of my office is to see that justice is done."

Perry also defends his veto in comments taken from a news conference on Saturday in Austin after his indictment — interspersed with footage from Lehmberg's arrest.

"I exercised this authority to veto for an office whose leadership had lost the public's confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically — who conducted themselves in an incredibly inappropriate way," Perry says in the video.

"Stopped for a DWI with a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit, an individual who when booked in had to be restrained, was abusive to law enforcement, was kicking the door," he added. "I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto."

The indictment by a state grand jury has been slammed by conservatives and liberals alike, with Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz saying on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Monday that it was an an example of "what happens in totalitarian societies."

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