Gov. Rick Perry says an indictment against him for abuse of power was itself an abuse of power and vows to fight it. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Texas Governor Rick Perry said an indictment against him for abuse of power was itself an abuse of power and vowed to fight it at a press conference on Saturday in which he fiercely defended the veto that lead to the legal action.
Perry was indicted on Friday by a grand jury in Texas on two counts of abuse of power and coercion over a funding veto he made last year that was seen as being intended to force a local prosecutor to resign.
"This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot and I will not allow that to happen," Perry told reporters in Austin, Texas.
Perry, a possible Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race, was indicted by a grand jury in Travis County with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official, a third-degree felony.
A probe was launched last year after Perry vetoed $7.5 million in funding for an integrity unit that is part of the Travis County District Attorney's office. The move was seen as hardball politics to force out county District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she pleaded guilty to drunken driving.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum said a conviction on the first-degree felony charge could bring between 5 to 99 years in prison. Perry will be arraigned next week, he added.
Perry in recent months has been traveling to Republican battleground states and party gatherings in what analysts said were visits that have helped him scout the political landscape for a possible presidential run.
Perry, the longest-serving governor in the state's history, was forced to exit the 2012 Republican presidential race after several gaffes including when he lost his train of thought during a debate and could not recall which government departments he wanted to abolish.
He is not seeking re-election as governor and will step down next year.
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