Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday that his indictment on abuse of power charges amounts to "partisan political theatrics."
"We don't settle political differences in this country with indictments," Perry said in his first appearance since charged by a grand jury Friday.
The Republican governor — who so far has not ruled out his candidacy for president in 2016 — is accused of vetoing funds for the Travis County district attorney, a Democrat. A grand jury convened by a special prosecutor handed up the indictment late Friday.
Perry said he blocked the $7.5 million line item because the head of the office, Rosemary Lehmberg, was convicted of drunken driving and refused his calls to step down. Lehmberg also runs the state agency responsible for investigating corruption in state government, and the funding Perry vetoed was specifically for the public integrity unit.
Perry said he would continue to serve out his final term as governor but did not address his presidential plans.
Perry's personal attorney, David Botsford, said late Friday he was "outraged and appalled" by the indictment because the governor "has taken this action, given the governor's constitutional right and duty to veto funding as he deems appropriate."
"This clearly represents political abuse of the court system and there is no legal basis in this decision," Botsford said in a statement. "The facts of this case conclude that the governor's veto was lawful, appropriate and well within the authority of the office of the governor."