Leave no stone unturned, and no hour unbilled.
Rick Perry’s lawyers have asked a state appeals court to dismiss the indictment against the former governor, saying he lawfully used his power to veto funds to the Travis County district attorney’s office and his right to do so is protected by free speech.
“On its face, without the need for any evidence, the indictment must be dismissed because it runs afoul of these constitutional guarantees,” the defense team argued in a filing made late Wednesday with the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin.
The filing, the second part of a two-pronged approached to get the indictment dismissed, is an appeal of a Jan. 27 decision by Judge Bert Richardson that allowed the case to proceed.
Defense lawyers Tony Buzbee and David Botsford wrote on Monday that this new “woefully deficient” indictment should be dismissed because it fails to allege a crime was committed when Perry, as governor, vetoed state funds that were to go to the Travis County district attorney’s office nearly two years ago.
In their brief before the appeals court, Perry lawyers again zeroed in on the coercion charge and whether Perry’s veto threat was allowed under free speech protections guaranteed by the state and U.S. constitutions.
Defense lawyers offer that while some threats that imply physical harm are not protected by the U.S. Constitution, most threats enjoy “broad protection” under the First Amendment.
The defense team warned that if the case is not dismissed, it will have a “a chilling effect” on any governor who may want to veto items in the state’s budget, Perry’s appeal states.
“At stake is not just the freedom of one man,” Perry’s attorneys argued.
Yawn. See here and here for the background, and here for the filing. I do agree that this indictment is a threat to any future politician who would use his or her power to try to force another elected official to resign. We’ll see which court rules first.