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What's Ahead For Gov. Rick Perry After His Indictment

The Texas Tribune
Gov. Perry at his August 16, 2014 press conference

Gov. Rick Perry still plans to meet with Republican activists in New Hampshire this weekend.  That’s as his lawyers meet with prosecutors about his indictment on two felony counts in his home state.

Sam Baker talks about the case with Ross Ramsey of The Texas Tribune.

Interview Highlights: Ross Ramsey on …

What Perry’s lawyers will do: “I would expect his lawyers to challenge the indictment and try to get it thrown out before it ever gets that far. There’s a lot of legal machinations alongside the political machinations.”

What’s working for Perry in this case? “What’s working for him is the idea that he didn’t’ do anything that was illegal and the prosecutors are going to have to say: ‘You did something that was legal and you illegally used a legal tool.’ They’ve got a hard case to prove. But I don’t think they would have indicted if they hadn’t wanted to go forward. Unless there’s something that’s technically wrong or structurally wrong with the indictment, I think they’ll probably proceed with it.”

The court of public opinion: “As a legal matter, the interesting part about the court of public opinion is that’s the public from which the jury will be pulled. … From a political standpoint, Perry has said openly he’s considering a run for president and the question up until a couple of days ago is: ‘Will you try this again? What’s different from the first time?’ He got pretty good at explaining that. He has this line: ‘America is a great place for second chances.’ … Now the first question is: ‘So tell us about this indictment.’ And I think he wants to get that out of the way as soon as he can. … He’s doing the right things for a candidate to do. He’s saying it’s a political indictment. ‘I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.’ He has on the public case: Rosemary Lehmberg is a perfect foil. She’s very very difficult to defend and although the legal case isn’t really about Rick Perry vs. Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County district attorney, it looks that way to the public. Given that choice, I think most people would run with Rick Perry. That’s not what the legal case is about but the political case is largely about that."

On Perry's presidential ambitions: "Perry has talked about this as Democrats chasing a Republican down. His more immediate problem politically is Republicans against him. He’s seeking a nomination for president saying Perry and indictment in the same sentence over and over, even if the other words are sympathetic. He just doesn’t need that weight around his leg.  … As a voter, what you’re doing is striking names from the list and the indictment makes you lift your pencil."

"Nothing more than banana republic politics"

The Associated Press reports on what Perry's attorneys are saying:

Attorneys for  Gov. Rick Perry say they don't know when he will be booked on abuse of power charges - but that it won't happen in secret. Houston-based defense Tony Buzbee said Monday that he will head Perry's high-powered legal team. The Republican and longest-serving governor in Texas history has been indicted on two felony counts. Buzbee said the governor is "going to let everyone know" when he will be booked, fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken. Perry's attorneys and a special prosecutor are still working that out. Buzbee also dismissed the case as "nothing more than banana republic politics."

Perry was indicted Friday on charges of coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit run. On Sunday, Perry appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to defend himself.

For more information

Five Things To Know About The Perry Indictment

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.