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Rick Perry booked by authorities, then goes for ice cream

(Photo courtesy of Travis County Sheriff)
(Photo courtesy of Travis County Sheriff)

Updated at 7:01 p.m.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), under indictment on two felony counts, was booked by authorities Tuesday afternoon, where he declared his innocence and vowed to fight the charges he faces.

“I’m going to enter this courthouse with my head held high,” Perry told a crush of reporters and some cheering supporters before he entered a Travis County courthouse.

Perry, who wore a dark suit and blue tie, had his fingerprints and a mug shot taken. The governor smiled slightly in his booking picture, which he took without his glasses on. Authorities did not issue an arrest warrant.

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“The actions that I took were lawful, they were legal and they were proper,” Perry said in brief remarks after he left his booking. “This indictment was fundamentally a political act."

After his booking, Perry went for ice cream, tweeting a picture of himself holding a cone.

Perry was indicted by a grand jury last Friday on charges he abused his office and tried to coerce an elected official to resign. At issue is a threat Perry followed through with to veto funding to an anti-corruption agency. Perry vetoed $7.5 million for the Public Integrity Unit after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (D) refused to resign following a 2013 drunk driving arrest. The anti-corruption agency is part of the district attorney's office.

The governor is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. That same day, he is scheduled to travel to New Hampshire, where he will attend several events with conservative activists as he weighs another run for president in 2016.

It's not clear whether Perry will appear at his arraignment later this week.

An army of conservative activists has rallied to Perry's side, charging that he is the subject of a politically motivated witch hunt. His supporters include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Democrats said they looked forward to Perry's case being tried.

“This may be a sideshow to Rick Perry but no amount of spin can cover up two felony charges," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin in a statement. "When Rick Perry has his day in court, his case will be decided by the facts, not theatrics."

Czin later added a more complimentary unofficial statement via Twitter: "I have been pretty critical of Gov Perry - but give credit where credit's due: that guy takes a GREAT mugshot!"

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

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