Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz does not particularly care for conservative Republicans like Rick Perry. But that did not stop him from coming to the defense of the Texas governor, indicted last week on charges that appear politically motivated.
A criminal complaint against Perry was brought by the left-leaning Texans for Public Justice after he followed through on his threat to veto $7.5 million in funding to the state Office of Public Integrity – which is run out of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office – when DA Rosemary Lehmberg refused to step down following her conviction for drunken driving.
A special prosecutor persuaded a grand jury in overwhelmingly Democratic Travis County to indict Perry on charges of abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official, a third-degree felony.
“Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment,” Dershowitz said. “If you don’t like how Rick Perry uses his office, don’t vote for him.”
Dershowitz also called special prosecutor Michael McCrum’s prosecution of Perry “another example of the criminalization of party differences.”
And that applies, said Dershowitz, “whether directed at Tom DeLay,” the former House majority leader prosecuted by apparatchiks in the Travis County DA’s office, “or Bill Clinton,” who, as president, was targeted by Republican prosecutors at the federal level.
We do not entirely condone the hardball tactics Perry used to remove Lehmberg from office. But we find the legal counterattack far more odious.