Rick Perry pleads not guilty to felony charges

August 20, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the media before turning himself in to authorities at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center on Aug. 19 in Austin, Tex. (Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

Gov. Rick Perry (R) has pleaded not guilty to felony charges that he abused his office and tried to coerce a public official to resign.

Perry entered his plea Tuesday as part a waiver of his arraignment, or his right to hear the charges read to him, a spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

The governor has vowed to fight the charges handed down after a grand jury indicted him last week. He appeared at an Austin courthouse Tuesday to have his fingerprints and a mug shot taken. Then, he went out for ice cream.

At issue in Perry's case is a threat he followed through with to veto funding to an anti-corruption agency that is part of the Travis County district attorney's office. Perry blocked the funding after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (D) refused to step down following her 2013 drunk driving arrest.

Perry will travel to Washington on Thursday, where he will speak about immigration and border security at a conservative think tank. He's headed to New Hampshire on Friday where he will attend events with conservative activists as he weighs another run for president. Next week, Perry is slated to travel to South Carolina, another key presidential campaign state.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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