Perry pledges to keep up fight against indictment

Story highlights

  • A Texas judge denied the second attempt by Rick Perry's attorneys to have the felony charges against him thrown out
  • Perry pledged to continue to fight the charges, which he said "amounts to the criminalization of politics"
  • He said he's moving forward with a potential presidential bid, despite the charges

(CNN)Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry again asserted his innocence in the felony abuse-of-power case against him Wednesday and pledged to fight the charges, despite a Texas judge's refusal to dismiss the case this week.

"I am confident that I will ultimately prevail because the prosecution's case amounts to the criminalization of politics," he said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Perry's attorneys had sought to have the two criminal charges — coercion of a public official and abuse of official capacity — against him thrown out on constitutional grounds, their second failed attempt to have the case dismissed.
    Tony Buzbee, the governor's attorney, said in a statement issued Tuesday that Perry "acted lawfully and properly exercised his power under the law as Governor to protect the public safety and integrity of government."
    "Continued prosecution of Governor Perry is an outrage and sets a dangerous precedent in our Democracy. America's commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law is at stake in this case, which is why we will immediately appeal this decision to the Third District Court of Appeals," he said.
    The former governor has already spent more than $1 million from his campaign coffers on his defense, and another appeal is likely to take months and draw more resources as he prepares for a likely presidential bid.
    Perry was indicted in August related to his 2013 veto threat to veto funding for public corruption prosecutors in the state, a threat which he eventually carried out and one that critics said was intended to pressure a local district attorney to resign.
    District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, rebuffed the governor's calls to resign after she was arrested and pleaded guilty in April of 2013 to drunken driving.
    The Texas governor is openly preparing for another presidential bid, and though the indictment was then seen as a possible impediment to his candidacy, he continued his travel to early primary states, and in fact drew widespread support from Republicans when the indictment was reported.
    His potential GOP primary opponents again came to his defense with the judge's decision to allow the case to move forward this week.
    Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, along with Govs. Scott Walker and Chris Christie, all issued statements of support on social media.
    And Perry reiterated Thursday that the ongoing case will have no impact on his preparations for a second run.
    "We're moving right along as we have intended to" with those plans, he said, and hinted that he may already have his mind made up on whether to go forward with another bid.
    "We'll make a decision — or, actually, make an announcement, is a better descriptive term — in the May-June timetable just like we had intended to before this," Perry added.