- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 19, 2013

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday accused Democrats in his state of punishing Republican opponents by misusing prosecution power and the courts because Democrats “can’t get what they want at the polls.”

In an interview with The Washington Times, Mr. Perry hailed a court ruling Thursday that threw out the felony conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, putting an end to the eight-year legal travail for the congressman from Texas on charges of laundering illegal political contributions.

Mr. Perry, himself under investigation by a special prosecutor in an ethics case, declined to say whether he will create a judicial review board to determine whether — and to what extent — prosecutions in his state are politically driven.

SEE ALSO: Tom DeLay’s money-laundering conviction overturned by Texas appeals court

He said he was immensely pleased that a Texas appeals court threw out the conviction of Mr. DeLay.

“I always thought the Democrats had a witch hunt against Tom, and I said so from the beginning,” Mr. Perry, a probable 2016 Republican presidential nomination candidate, said in a Newsmaker interview with The Washington Times.

“Democrats can’t get what they want at the polls, so they use prosecutors and the courts to gain their ends,” the three-term governor said.

SEE ALSO: Tom DeLay: ‘I can get my concealed weapons license back’

Mr. DeLay, once considered the most powerful Republican in the nation, had been living under a legal cloud for eight years until Thursday’s decision was handed down.

A Texas court gave Mr. DeLay a three-year prison sentence after his conviction for what the court said was illegally funneling money to other Republican candidates.

Mr. DeLay left Congress in 2006, and his ordeal cost him dearly in legal expenses that apparently will keep mounting thanks to the appeal of the latest decision.

The appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to uphold the conviction, but Mr. DeLay’s travails aren’t over. The Travis County District Attorney’s Office is appealing the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 ruling to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Mr. DeLay, also in Washington on Thursday on separate business, said that what the prosecution claimed he had done would be perfectly legal under current campaign finance laws.

“I’m not saying it was easy to go through,” he told reporters. “On the other hand, if you read the ruling [it says] this is an outrageous criminalization of politics. In the ruling, they say I should have never even been charged, much less indicted.”

As the number of cases of prosecutor misconduct have mounted, law schools, criminal defense attorneys and libertarians have called for prosecution review boards.

Looking for business

Mr. Perry, in Maryland to recruit businesses to relocate to Texas, visited the Beretta USA gun factory in Accokeek. He said he met with the two top executives who told him he was the first and only governor of any state to visit the factory since it was founded in 1975. Mr. Perry wouldn’t say whether he got a commitment from them to move their facilities to Texas, saying only, “Let’s say the visit went well.”

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