Gov. Rick Perry Poses, Grins for Mugshot

PerryBooking.jpg
In his mugshot taken Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse, Gov. Rick Perry sports that sly grin we've all come to know so well.

Perhaps that's because Perry thinks he's winning the public relations war that's erupted over his indictment. Following his indictment Friday on felony counts of abuse of power and coercion of a public servant, Perry called the charges "partisan political threats" that "rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution." Tony Buzbee, Perry's lead defense attorney, later called the indictment "nothing more than banana republic politics."

As Forrest Wilder at the Texas Observer aptly points out, pundits across the country have followed suit, calling the indictment "unbelievably ridiculous," "sketchy," and even "weak sauce."

On Tuesday, ahead of Perry's scheduled mugshot and fingerprinting, RickPac, the governor's political action committee, actually began soliciting contributions, reminding us how this all started: how Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg got drunk, drove around, got caught, and threw a tantrum in jail; how Perry threatened to withhold $7.5 million in funding from the Travis County DA's Public Integrity Unit (which just so happens to investigate public corruption cases) following Lehmberg's arrest; and how Perry actually followed through on that threat and vetoed the funds when Lehmberg refused to step down.

After his booking, Perry reportedly greeted a throng of cheering supporters outside the Travis County Courthouse, vowing to "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."

"I'm here today because I believe in the rule of law," Perry told the crowd. "I'm here today because I did the right thing."

It's way too early to definitively tell whether Perry's indictment amounts to more than just partisan politics. If the prosecutor appointed to investigate the complaint filed against Perry gives us any indication, there might be more to the charges than meets the eye. Michael McCrum, a former cop and prosecutor under the George H.W. Bush administration, simply doesn't have the reputation of a guy swayed by partisan whims. "He's very fair-minded and balanced, the kind of guy who would prosecute something only if he thinks the evidence is there," Gerald Reamey, the professor who taught McCrum at St. Mary's University law school, told the Dallas Morning News. "When I think of overzealous prosecution, he is not someone who comes to my mind."

We don't yet know what evidence was heard behind the grand-jury doors, and we won't unless Perry's case goes to trial (or unless someone in the media gets an awesome leak). Presumably, Perry's high-powered defense lawyers will do everything they can to keep this as far away from a trial as possible.

So for now, go back and watch Lehmberg's embarrassing arrest video, stare at Perry's remarkably unsettling mugshot, and laugh, or weep, at the fact that this is what politics has become in the State of Texas.


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7 comments
echolane
echolane

Hopefully our guv will soon be doing bunk time with Illinois' Rod Blagojevich.

craighlavaty_
craighlavaty_

This whole thing has only solidified his legend with Texans on the right. What you call a "remarkably unsettling mugshot" is really just exciting his base.

Davidoff
Davidoff

Rick's over-dramatics are annoying; he should be a thespian, rather than on the national stage of politics.

stevek77536
stevek77536

Rod Blagojevich, former Governor of Illinois, in a conversation secretly recorded on FBI wiretap about Obama’s Senate seat:  “I’ve got this thing and it’s f—ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f—-in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it."   (Mr. Blagojevich is now also known as federal prisoner number 40892-424)  


From what I've read about Mr. Perry's actions, he saw the same golden opportunity to shut down the Public Integrity Unit, which was getting too close to the scandalous financial activities of his cronies at the heavily state funded cancer program titled CPRIT (the head of CPRIT was a major Perry campaign donor, another executive was indicted for financial chicanery, scientists including Nobel laureates were resigning in protest, etc.)  Mr. Perry saw the DA's DUI arrest as the perfect cover for his longtime desire to shut down the entire Public Integrity Unit, several dozen people.  But apparently the special prosecutor and the grand jury were able to connect the dots.  The indictment is valid, in spite of all the bluster and diversion of Mr. Perry and his legal hired guns.  Let's let a jury hear the law and the facts.

jjalonzo06
jjalonzo06

Just stop your bias...at this point please call yourselves HP political news arm for MSNBC. Just like MSNBC you have a bunch of people who call themselves writers and commentators who pretend to be journalists. (on a side note: at least we have a good looking Governor. I doubt anyone is going to say that about Lehmberg or Anise Parker)

charlierock62
charlierock62

Perry will walk . HP will try to make you think otherwise. Hey Michael B did you also vote for Obama and Parker in the last elections? Fool. No wonder I resort to the Chronicle on Thursday for my entertainment info.  Your paper sucks now!

Davidoff
Davidoff

@jjalonzo06

(Oh yeah, so one-sided; that's why he included various characterizations of the indictment "unbelievably ridiculous," "sketchy," and even "weak sauce." )


Actually, MSNBC is really good, and employs some fantastic journalists. Which is why they irritate FOX news so much.

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