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POLITICS: PennAve

Supporters cheer Rick Perry as he is booked at Texas jail

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Photo - Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes a statement in Austin on Saturday concerning the indictment on charges of coercion of a public servant and abuse of his official capacity. Perry is the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted. (AP/Michael Thomas)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes a statement in Austin on Saturday concerning the indictment on charges of coercion of a public servant and abuse of his official capacity. Perry is the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted. (AP/Michael Thomas)
Politics,Betsy Woodruff,Texas,2016 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Minusextra,Rick Perry,Law,Law Enforcement

Rick Perry just turned a mugshot into a photo opportunity.

The Texas governor, a likely 2016 presidential contender, turned himself in to be booked at the Blackwell Thurman Criminal Justice Center near the state capitol early Tuesday evening.

"I am here today because I believe in the rule of law," he said, as supporters cheered and applauded.

A Travis County grand jury indicted the governor on Friday for allegedly abusing his power when he used a line-item veto to eliminate funding for a watchdog group whose head, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, was convicted for drunk driving.

After Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest, Perry told her he would eliminate her group’s funding if she didn’t step down. As she refused to step down, he vetoed $7.5 million that would have gone to the public integrity unit.

"If I had to do so, I would veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit again," he said.

The indictment charges that he abused his power by trying to coerce her to resign, as Lehmberg is a Democrat and investigates Republican supporters of the governor.

He’s drawn sympathy from unlikely quarters, including the New York Times editorial board.

“Governors and presidents threaten vetoes and engage in horse-trading all the time to get what they want,” reads an Aug. 18 editorial, “but for that kind of political activity to become criminal requires far more evidence than has been revealed in the Perry case so far.”

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