- Associated Press - Friday, August 22, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An attorney for Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that he will ask a judge to dismiss criminal charges alleging that the possible 2016 presidential candidate abused his power with a veto last summer.

Those intentions are unsurprising given that Perry has emphatically rejected two felony indictments handed up by a grand jury in Austin last week. He has pleaded not guilty and called the charges a political ploy.

Perry was in New Hampshire on Friday while his criminal attorney and the special prosecutor in the case met with Republican Judge Bert Richardson in chambers for nearly an hour in Austin. The judge gave Perry’s team a week to file their motions.

“It will speak for itself, but it is based on the governor’s veto power, separation of powers in the Texas Constitution, First Amendment rights and the speech and debate clause,” said David Botsford, Perry’s attorney.

Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor, said he remained confident in the charges.

Perry is accused of leveraging his veto power to try to oust a Democratic district attorney whose office oversees the state’s Public Integrity Unit. Perry cut off $7.5 million in state funds to the unit - which prosecutes public corruption in Texas - when Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a drunken driving arrest.

He is charged with abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. If convicted on the two felony charges, Perry could face a maximum 109 years in prison.


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