In last night’s “Justice,” Judge Jeanine blasted the indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, saying, “Nothing about this indictment makes sense.”
Read the transcript below.
A famous court of appeals judge once said, “A grand jury could indict a ham sandwich.”
Now I believe in the rule of law, but I am not going to sugarcoat this one.
The indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for abuse of his veto power and coercion of a public servant is pure unadulterated hogwash! It makes DAs like me cringe in embarrassment. And it's not just me – even former Obama White House political advisor David Axelrod calls the indictment "pretty sketchy.”
Now, I’ve spent my career in the assignment of blame – more than three decades as a prosecutor, superior court judge, and elected district attorney. I have empaneled grand juries, instructed grand juries, and ruled on grand jury actions.
Nothing about this indictment makes sense.
A sitting governor facing 109 years in prison because he threatened to veto funding to a drunk district attorney's public integrity unit. Really?
No one disputes that the law gives the governor the power to veto funding. Period. End of the story.
So now every time a governor vetoes funding or legislation, will he or she be subject to an investigation or an indictment because people complained it was political?
A little back story here – the DA, Rosemary Lehmberg, is a drunk. Yes. The chief law enforcement officer of Austin County, Texas, is not just a drunk – she's a convicted drunk driver. She has actually spent time in jail. Imagine: the chief law enforcement officer is a convict who served jail time!
Now, I have no sympathy for drunk drivers. They don't have to get behind the wheel of a car, especially a DA who certainly had other options. On the night she chose to drive her Lexus, she had an open vodka bottle on the front seat and was weaving in and out of a bicycle lane.
I have seen the consequences of driving drunk. Innocents slaughtered by thousands of pounds of steel because a drunk chose to get behind the wheel of a car.
And folks, it's even worse than this. Her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. And her behavior – both before and after her arrest – was so outrageous, so threatening, so belligerent, so combative, the woman had to be strapped down.
And this woman actually thinks that she should remain the person who decides who gets indicted and who doesn't?
So, Gov. Rick Perry says that someone like this is not fit to be DA or certainly to run the public integrity unit, adding that he would veto funding for that program. Now, DA Rosemary doesn't like that, takes umbrage at this along with a watchdog group that filed a complaint against Perry, and a special prosecutor is appointed.
Now, I created a public integrity unit in my office for the specific purpose of investigating public officials and maintaining the integrity of their offices.
You may recall that the Austin County District Attorney's Office is known for ridiculous political prosecutions. Evidence: Republican Gov. Kay Bailey Hutchison indicted three times, acquitted every time. Republican Congressman Tom Delay indicted, conviction immediately overturned.
Austin County – in case you don't know – is the only Democratic county in a completely red state of Texas.
Bigger picture: Gov. Rick Perry is frequently mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate. As of late, his handling of immigration at the Texas border has been applauded nationwide.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie also under federal investigation for a traffic jam, and Republican Gov. Scott Walker under federal investigation, both of them frequently mentioned as possible 2016 candidates.
Like I said, a judge was famously quoted as saying a grand jury could indict a ham sandwich. Apparently they like ham in Texas."
Editor's Note: Lehmberg is District Attorney of Travis County, Texas, which includes Austin.
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