Perry, a possible candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential
race, was indicted earlier this month for trying to use the veto to
force the resignation of a prosecutor in Travis County, a Democratic
stronghold in the Republican-dominated state.
"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," the
motion filed in a Travis County district court said.
Perry, the longest-serving governor in the state's history, became
the target of an ethics investigation last year after he vetoed $7.5
million in funding for the state public integrity unit run from the
Travis County district attorney's office.
His veto was widely viewed as intended to force the ouster of Travis
County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, after she
had pleaded guilty to drunken driving and remained in office. He was
charged with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and
coercion of a public official, a third-degree felony.
Perry has called the charges politically motivated. His critics
contend he wanted to dictate the public integrity unit's actions,
allowing cronyism to fester in his administration.
Perry has sought to parlay attention over the indictment into a
fresh political push, making speeches last week in the crucial
presidential primary state of New Hampshire, where his dismal
showing in 2012 led him to drop out of the presidential race.
[to top of second column]
Perry, who in surveys of Republicans has ranked among the bottom of
possible presidential primary candidates, has portrayed himself as
the victim of a partisan political prosecution.
Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist
University in Dallas, said Perry needs to avoid going to trial
because the court proceeding could prove damaging, especially if a
parade of his operatives testify about the political dealings that
went into the veto.
"Unless his lawyers can get the indictment quashed, get the
indictment thrown out by a judge before the trial begins, the trial
will kill him as a candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016,"
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.