AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The special prosecutor who secured two felony indictments against Rick Perry said this week that Texas’ Republican governor is making a “mockery” of the criminal justice system and shouldn’t be excused from a pretrial hearing.
The comments from San Antonio-based special prosecutor Michael McCrum came a day after Perry asked a judge to excuse him from an Oct. 13 hearing because he will be in Europe that week for a tour to encourage foreign investment in Texas.
McCrum has not returned phone calls and emails from The Associated Press seeking comment. But he told The San Antonio Express News that Perry is “asking for special favors, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s not entitled to it.”
“I don’t think there’s any reason why Mr. Perry should be treated any differently from any other citizen who’s required to be in court,” McCrum told the newspaper.
Perry’s attorneys said that if the governor must appear for the pretrial hearing, then it should be delayed until he’s back in Texas. They also asked that Perry be allowed to miss any court dates where no evidence is presented.
An Austin grand jury indicted Perry last month on two felony counts of abuse of power for threatening to veto state funding for a public corruption investigative unit. The governor issued the promised veto after the Democratic district attorney who oversees the unit refused to resign following her drunken-driving conviction — drawing an ethics complaint against Perry from a left-leaning watchdog group.
Perry has denied all wrongdoing, calling the case a political ploy.
In his remarks to the newspaper, McCrum also referred to hundreds of supporters turning up to rally at the Austin courthouse where Perry was booked last month and the governor’s “smirking” in his mug shot.
“I’ve never seen a defendant make such a mockery of our system of justice,” McCrum said.
Perry is not seeking re-election in November but is considering a second presidential run in 2016, after his bid three years ago flamed out in a series of public gaffes. He’s denied all wrongdoing, calling the case a political ploy.
One of his defense attorneys, Anthony Buzbee of Houston, told the Express News that it wasn’t proper for McCrum to “take potshots at the sitting governor in the newspaper.”