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Prosecutor: Reply to Perry Filing Likely to Come Next Month

Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor who secured an indictment against Gov. Rick Perry in August, said he expected to reply in October to a challenge filed by Perry's legal team.

Gov. Rick Perry leaves the Blackwell-Thurman Justice Center in Austin after his booking on Aug. 19, 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry's legal team was quick to challenge the criminal indictment against him in August, making its position known within days of the governor's booking.

“Continued prosecution of Governor Perry on the current indictment is unprecedented, insupportable and simply impermissible,” the governor's attorneys wrote in their brief. “This court should not hesitate to dismiss both counts of the indictment and bar the prosecution, immediately if not sooner.”

One month later, they have yet to get an answer from special prosecutor Michael McCrum, the man who secured the indictment against Perry.

On Thursday, McCrum told The Texas Tribune that his response is coming but probably wouldn't be filed until the "later half" of October. 

"I'm just taking a lot of time to look into it carefully," McCrum said. "There are several matters [in the Perry legal team's challenge] that are blatantly wrong." He didn't specify the issues that he said were wrong.

Perry was indicted on charges of coercing a public servant and abusing his official capacity as governor. The charges are related to Perry threatening to veto $7.5 million in state funds to the Travis County district attorney’s office if DA Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down following her drunken driving conviction. Perry vetoed the funding for the public integrity unit, which is a part of the Travis County DA’s office, after Lehmberg refused to resign. Perry has said that the charges were politically motivated, and his lawyers say they are vague and unsupportable. 

The next hearing in the Perry case is in Austin on Oct. 13

Last week, McCrum added a second prosecutor, Austin lawyer David Gonzalez. 

"I think the case merits another attorney," McCrum said. "I know I will want another attorney for trial purposes. I fully expect to go to trial."

McCrum, a San Antonio criminal defense attorney, also said he expects to prevail in a contempt case filed against him in January by Bexar County prosecutors. He's accused of telling a client's former addiction counselor to "get lost for a while" so that she would not be available to testify. Last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently cleared the way for the case to proceed against him. 

"I know I was right in everything I did," McCrum said. "I've been practicing for almost 30 years, and I've never had a complaint filed against me. I just do not feel like there's any merit to the allegation."

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Courts Criminal justice Rick Perry