Texas Gov. Rick Perry arrived at an Austin courthouse Tuesday afternoon, to the applause of dozens of supporters, to be booked on felony abuse of power charges after he was indicted Friday over his threat to veto funding to public corruption prosecutors.
The governor's supporters organized a rally to coincide with Perry's arrival at the Travis County Courthouse, creating an atmosphere outside that felt more like a campaign event than a court proceeding. Sign-carrying supporters mingled with reporters, political consultants and curious passers-by. Some supporters held signs saying "Stop Democrat Games."
Perry, who is mulling a second presidential run in 2016, reported to the courthouse at about 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Republican has called the case a political ploy, and many top Republicans are supporting him.
He's accused of coercion and official oppression for promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit run by the Travis County district attorney's office. Perry said he'd veto the funding if District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg didn't resign after a drunken driving conviction.
Lehmberg refused and Perry carried out the veto, drawing an ethics complaint.
Houston-based defense lawyer Tony Buzbee said Monday that he will head Perry's high-powered legal team. The Republican and longest-serving governor in Texas history has been indicted on two felony counts.
Buzbee said the governor is "going to let everyone know" when he will be booked, fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken.
Buzbee also dismissed the case as "nothing more than banana republic politics."
It's unclear how much of his legal tab will be picked up by taxpayers.
Perry's defense team includes attorneys who've taken on oil giant BP and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorney Tony Buzbee says that which of the lawyers will be paid by the state hasn't been sorted out yet.
Perry has emphatically denied wrongdoing and released a YouTube video called "Setting the Record Straight."
After leaving the Travis County Jail, Perry headed out for a sweet treat at a Austin hamburger stand. He tweeted this photo:
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) August 19, 2014