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Perry's Legal Team Says Indictment Violates Governor's Right To Free Speech


Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s legal team said the governor’s 2013 announcement and veto of the state public integrity unit budget was the governor’s right to free speech and his desire to be transparent about his intended plans. Perry's attorneys say the court will see that the governor’s words did not constitute a threat.

In downtown Austin on Monday, just a few blocks from the state capitol, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee announced that he is Perry’s lead counsel on the case and then called the indictment "Banana Republic politics." 

Buzbee began by showing a video clip from the night Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested and booked into jail on drunk driving charges.

“That individual was responsible for $7.5 million of state taxpayer money," Buzbee said. "The governor saw that tape and lost confidence in her and rightly vetoed that line item.”

Buzbee said the indictments against the governor are a violation of his right to free speech and that he was only announcing his intentions, not providing an ultimatum when he said he would veto the state public integrity unit’s budget unless Lehmberg stepped down.

Former president George W. Bush’s ballot recount attorney Ben Ginsberg has also joined the Perry legal team.

“If the governor did say, 'Here’s why I’m going to veto a bill,” that’s actually transparency in government that you guys are supposed to be for," Ginsberg said.

Buzbee said the state of Texas will pay a portion of the governor’s legal tab and the other portion will be paid from a donor-defense fund.