Politics

Judge Won't Dismiss Rick Perry's Criminal Charges; He Remains Hopeful For 2016

| by Edward Arnold
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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will have to go to trial to face criminal charges. On Tuesday, a Texas judge denied Perry's request to dismiss the charges against him.

Last August, Perry was indicted with a first-degree felony charge of abuse of official capacity. He was also charged with coercion of a public official, a third-degree felony.

NBC News reported that the charges stem from his 2013 veto of state funding for a Texas District Attorney's office. Perry allegedly used his veto power against the attorney because she refused to resign after being convicted of drunk driving. Sources say Perry wanted to force Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg out of her position.

Perry's legal team is convinced his veto was within his constitutional authority as governor. As for his possible presidential run, Perry is acting like the incident never happened.

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"We're moving right along as we have intended to," he said today. "And we'll make a decision, or actually make an announcement -- [that's] a better descriptive term, in the May/June timetable just like we had intended to before this."

After speaking in Iowa this weekend, Perry and his team feel confident about the amount of support he has received. However, a prolonged trial could hurt his chances of committing to a campaign.

Perry's attorneys have portrayed the former governor as a victim of partisan and political prosecution.

"Governor Perry acted lawfully and properly exercised his power under the law as Governor to protect the public safety and integrity of government,” said Tony Buzbee, an attorney for Perry. “Continued prosecution of Governor Perry is an outrage and sets a dangerous precedent in our Democracy."

Tony Buzbee will file an appeal to the judge's decision to not dismiss the case. That ruling will be expected in the next 30 to 60 days. If denied, Perry will have to face the criminal charges in court, which could seriously diminish his campaign. 

Sources: NBC News, Reuters / Photo Credit: Wikimedia