Texas Governor Rick Perry answers a question about his indictment in Texas in Portsmouth, N.H. on Aug. 22, 2014.
Brian Snyder/Reuters

Rick Perry isn’t clear on his own indictment: ‘I’m not a lawyer’


Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t really sure what’s going on with his felony indictment, because, he explained, he’s not a lawyer.

After hiring an all-star legal team (paid for by his campaign funds to avoid taxpayer “grousing,” according to the governor) and declaring the two felony counts to be a political witch-hunt and an attack on his constitutional authorities, Perry claimed he doesn’t know the details of the case.

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“I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here,” Perry said in New Hampshire last week, ABC News reported.  

Here’s a primer on the charges against the governor. Perry was indicted on two felony counts, one for abuse of power and one for coercion of a public official. The charges stem from a 2013 veto threat Perry followed through with, when the governor told a district attorney he would veto millions of dollars of funding for part of the district attorney’s office unless she resigned after being convicted for drunken driving.

Perry is openly considering a presidential bid in 2016—it’s why he was in New Hampshire in the first place. And some feared the indictment would hurt his chances in another bid for the White House. But it has actually earned him support from conservatives and other potential 2016 players, particularly after he celebrated his booking with a big smile and ice cream. Much like his grinning booking photo, Perry’s latest comments suggest the governor is trying to downplay the threat of the indictment.

Perry’s last bid for the presidency was scuttled in part by a famous blunder, when he forgot during a GOP primary debate the third government agency he wanted to eliminate. “Oops,” he said.

Earlier this spring, Perry said if he decided to run again he would be better prepared.

“I learned a lot of lessons, the least of which is if you’re going to run for president I highly recommend you don’t have major back surgery six weeks before you start, and that you spend a lot of time in preparation,” he said on CBS “This Morning.”

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Rick Perry isn't clear on his own indictment: 'I'm not a lawyer'