Rick Perry’s Day: A Mug Shot, Then Ice Cream

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s mug shot. (AP Photo/Austin Police)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s mug shot. (AP Photo/Austin Police)

What’s a governor to do after getting booked on felony charges? Go for ice cream.

Minutes after he was fingerprinted Tuesday at the Travis County Courthouse for vetoing money to fund a corruption panel whose head was arrested for drunk driving, Texas Gov. Rick Perry posted a photo from his official Twitter account of him eating an ice cream cone in downtown Austin. His attorneys, David Botsford and Tony Buzbee, are standing nearby with their own ice cream cones.

The Republican, who is mulling a second presidential run in 2016, has long called the case a political ploy, and supporters chanting his name and holding signs — some saying “Stop Democrat Games” — greeted him when he arrived at the courthouse.

The longest-serving governor in Texas history was indicted last week for coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit. Perry threatened the veto if Travis County’s Democratic district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, stayed in office after a drunken driving conviction.

Lehmberg refused to resign and Perry carried out the veto. He was indicted by a grand jury in Austin, a liberal bastion in otherwise fiercely conservative Texas.

In less than 10 minutes, Perry was outside, telling his supporters he was confident in the rule of law.

“We don’t resolve political disputes or policy differences by indictments,” he said. “We don’t criminalize policy disagreements. We will prevail. We will prevail.”

If convicted on both counts, Perry could face a maximum 109 years in prison — though legal across the political spectrum experts have said the case against him may be a tough sell to a jury. No one disputes that Perry has the right to veto any measures passed by the state Legislature, including any parts of the state budget.