- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's lawyers file a motion to toss out last month's grand jury indictment
- His lawyers argue indictment, stemming from a 2013 veto, violates separation of powers
- Perry vetoed funds for the office run by Travis County's Democratic district attorney
- Perry's lawyers ridiculed notion that like an absolute monarch, Perry could personally benefit
Lawyers for Texas Governor Rick Perry filed a motion Monday to toss out last month's grand jury indictment against the potential 2016 presidential contender, arguing that the indictment violated the state's basic separation of powers.
They also contended the indictment painted a false picture of the governor as an absolute monarch with personal control of the state's public coffers.
"Continued prosecution of Governor Perry on the current indictment is unprecedented, insupportable and simply impermissible," Perry's lawyers wrote in a 43-page motion filed in Travis County District Court.
"This attempt to criminalize the political process should not be tolerated by this Court or any Texas court. Otherwise, overzealous prosecutors will be given free reign to use the grand jury process to chill political decisions by Texas' Governors."
Perry's legal team warned that the "Texas Constitution does not authorize any such action and the instant indictment is in direct conflict with the Governor's constitutional duties. The Court should dismiss both counts of the indictment and bar the prosecution."
In August, a Travis County grand jury indicted Perry on two felony counts stemming from his threat to veto funding for a statewide public integrity unit run by Travis Country District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, unless she stepped down.
The case centers on Perry's June 2013 veto of the $7.5 million budget for the unit run by Lehmberg, after she refused his demand to resign following her drunken driving arrest and conviction.
Perry faces accusations of coercion of a public servant and abuse of his official capacity in connection with the threat and veto.
Some Democrats have argued, among other things, that Perry vetoed funding for Lehmberg's unit because it was investigating state-funded grants to cancer research projects that benefited allies of Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, this year's GOP gubernatorial nominee.
In their motion, Perry's lawyers ridiculed the notion that vetoing spending -- an action preventing the release of tax dollars -- could somehow constitute a form of personal corruption on the part of the governor.
"A Texas Governor is not Augustus traveling his realm with a portable mint and an imperial treasure in tow; he no more has custody or possession of the State's general revenue funds than does any Texan," they wrote.
"No governor can say of his or her state what the Sun King said of France: 'L'état, c'est moi.'" (Translation: "I am the state.")
Perry has assembled a team of legal powerhouses to defend him against the indictment. Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, GOP attorney Bobby Burchfield, criminal lawyer David Botsford, former Romney presidential campaign legal counsel Ben Ginsberg and Gore campaign veteran Mark Fabiani are among those currently working for the Texas governor.
Numerous political analysts have speculated that the indictment could actually work to Perry's political advantage by portraying the conservative politician as a victim of overly aggressive prosecutors working out of Austin -- a Democratic stronghold in the largely Republican state.