Happy Halloween, Rick.
Visiting Judge Bert Richardson of San Antonio on Monday set the appearance for Oct. 31. Richardson also gave special prosecutor Michael McCrum until Nov. 7 to respond to two motions to quash the case.
Richardson had excused Perry from appearing in court Monday. The governor is traveling overseas this week, leading an economic development delegation to England, Germany, Poland and Ukraine.
Anthony Buzbee, one of Perry’s lawyers, confirmed the governor will be present for the next court date, when Richardson will address two issues: whether McCrum was sworn in properly and whether he should be ordered to produce a transcript of grand jury testimony. The governor’s lawyers have brought up both matters as they aggressively seek to convince Richardson to throw out the case.
Speaking to reporters after a hearing Monday, McCrum said he has “every confidence that we’re going to move forward” once the court deals with the procedural issues.
Asked whether he thought Perry’s lawyers were throwing the “legal kitchen sink” at him, McCrum said, “There’s been a couple of dishes thrown into the sink, and so we’re having to go through them one by one, but I’m confident everything’s going to proceed in a good fashion.
During Monday’s hearing, Richardson — who had originally appointed McCrum as special prosecutor — insisted that McCrum was sworn in properly. He added that any missing paperwork regarding McCrum’s oath of office would be reconciled.
“Clearly some of the documents were available, but they were in the wrong file,” Richardson said.
After the hearing, Buzbee said he believed the issue was very much alive.
“I’ve seen some paperwork. I’m not sure it resolves the issue, but we’ll take it up on the 31st,” Buzbee said, adding that if McCrum were not properly sworn in, the entire indictment against the governor should be dismissed.
McCrum told reporters he had no doubt the he was properly sworn in.
“Everything was done appropriately,” McCrum said. “I have every confidence that we’re going to move forward.”
McCrum said the defense request regarding the grand jury testimony is the first such request he’s seen in his career. “It’s quite unusual,” he said.
Without a transcript of the witness testimony, “this court will be unable to ascertain whether a pervasive violation” of Perry’s right to carry out legislative activity with immunity from prosecution, as protected by the Texas and U.S. Constitutions, has occurred, the governor’s lawyers wrote in the filing.
The Perry legal team has also filed a request to dismiss the indictment because Perry was acting in his official capacity as governor. That motion will be the subject of a Nov. 7 hearing.
No word as to whether Perry will have to be in court for that hearing. By that time, Judge Richardson will know if he’s headed to the Court of Criminal Appeals or not. Assuming he doesn’t wind up tossing the indictments, he could be handing off quite the hot potato to some other judge after that. Juanita has more.