Attorneys for Gov.Rick Perry are asking a judge to dismiss the criminal indictment against him. In a motion filed Monday known as a "writ of habeas corpus," Perry's legal team claims the abuse of power charges against the governor are unconstitutionally vague. Perry faces two felony counts--abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant--for using his veto power to cut off $7.5 million in funding to the state Public Integrity Unit last year. Perry did so after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, whose office oversees the Public Integrity Unit, refused to resign after she was arrested for drunken driving.
Perry and his legal team have steadfastly defended the governor's actions as fully within his legal authority as governor. In the writ filed Monday, Perry's attorneys write, "Subjecting any sitting Governor to a criminal prosecution and injecting the judiciary into a political dispute would be an unprecedented assault on this cherished separation of powers, and would impose an intolerable and incalculable chilling effect on the free exercise of legitimate constitutional powers by future governors."
The legal filing came on the same day that Perry added another big name to his legal team. Mark Fabiani, who was once special counsel to President Bill Clinton and a deputy campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, officially joined the Perry defense team that already includes Tony Buzbee, Ben Ginsberg, Bobby Burchfield, Tom Phillips and David Botsford.