(AP) — A Texas judge opted Monday not to issue an arrest warrant against Gov. Rick Perry, but the Republican still faces the unflattering prospect of being booked, fingerprinted and having his mug shot taken — and has assembled a team of high-powered attorneys to fight the two felony counts of abuse of power against him.
Leading conservatives around the country have mostly lined up to support the longest-serving governor in Texas history, and Perry’s aides said the case won’t derail his busy travel schedule, which includes visits to several key presidential battleground states as he continues to eye a second run for the White House in 2016.
"This is nothing more than banana republic politics," Tony Buzbee a Houston-based defense attorney who will head a cadre of four lawyers from Texas and Washington defending Perry, said at a news conference. "The charges lobbed against the governor are a really nasty attack not only on the rule of law but on the Constitution of the United States, the state of Texas and also the fundamental constitutional protections that we all enjoy."
Perry on Friday became the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted, and is facing charges of coercion and official oppression that carry a maximum sentence of 109 years in prison for carrying out a threat to veto funding for the state’s public integrity unit last summer.
The governor has emphatically stood by his veto and denied all wrongdoing. The judge overseeing the case, Republican Bert Richardson, decided against issuing an arrest warrant and instead the special prosecutor appointed to the matter, Michael McCrum, was planning a simple legal summons. That still means a booking is in Perry’s future.
Buzbee said he didn’t know exactly when that would occur but that the governor has no intention of hiding: “That’s going to be something, that when he goes in to be booked and take his picture that we’re going to let you know about.”