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Perry Prosecutor Looks to Add Co-Counsel

The attorney who obtained last month’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry has asked the judge to lower his fees so that he can bring in co-counsel at the same $250 per hour rate.

Governor Rick Perry is led into the booking area of the Travis County Courthouse for fingerprints and photographs on August …

The attorney who obtained last month’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry has asked the judge to lower his fees so that he can bring in co-counsel at the same $250-per-hour rate.

Michael McCrum, the appointed special prosecutor in charge of the case against the governor, earlier obtained court approval to bring in a second lawyer. In a letter delivered to Visiting Judge Bert Richardson on Monday, McCrum asked that his own fee be reduced to $250 per hour from $300 per hour, and that David Gonzalez, the Austin lawyer he is bringing in, be paid the same $250 rate. He wrote that his current rate of $300 per hour is a 40 percent reduction from his normal private-practice rate.

McCrum noted that the governor “has chosen to retain at least eight lead attorneys and a significant number of associate attorneys and experts to work on this matter.” But he said that is not why he asked for another lawyer; rather, he wrote, he needs help because of the “complexity of the issues and the work that will be required.”

Perry was indicted last month on charges he coerced a public servant and abused his official capacity of governor when he threatened to veto $7.5 million in state funds to the Travis County district attorney's office if District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down after her April 2013 drunken driving arrest. His lawyers have challenged the indictment, saying prosecutors are trying to make crimes of the governor’s official duties and his politics.

“If this reduction in fees continues to result in an unreasonable economic burden on the county, I am more than willing to meet with you and others to discuss options to reduce the expense,” McCrum wrote.

The next court date in the case is Oct. 13, but that could be rescheduled; the governor expects to be in Europe on that date, and the judge will decide whether Perry needs to be in the courtroom for those proceedings.

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