MIDLAND, Texas

Perry says campaign funds will pay his legal fees

Indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he believes taxpayers should have picked up his legal tab but opted to use campaign funds “to keep from having folks grouse about it.”

The possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate told reporters in Midland that he had considered it appropriate for state funds to pay his legal fees because a criminal investigation dealt with his official duties as governor.

Perry has pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of abuse of power. At least $80,000 in taxpayer dollars have been spent on his defense so far. Perry said Tuesday that he hadn’t yet decided if that money would also come from his campaign funds.

Following questions over who would pay for a new team of attorneys, Perry announced last week that campaign funds would start footing the bill.

In a 60-page motion filed Monday, Perry’s defense team argued that the law being used to prosecute the longest-serving governor in Texas history is unconstitutionally vague.

He is charged with abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, both felonies. If convicted, Perry could face up to 109 years in prison.

WASHINGTON

Probe of DEA investigates payments to Amtrak worker

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged payments by Drug Enforcement Administration personnel to an Amtrak employee are being investigated by the Justice Department inspector general’s office.

The announcement by Jay Lerner, a spokesman for the IG’s office, follows the disclosure by Amtrak’s inspector general that DEA paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years to obtain confidential information about train passengers that the drug-fighting agency could have lawfully obtained for free through a law enforcement network.

LOS ANGELES

Group seeks to shut nuke plant for earthquake review

An environmental group asked federal regulators to idle a California nuclear plant to review potential earthquake risks.

Friends of the Earth – an advocacy group critical of the nuclear power industry – filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking for a hearing and charging the Diablo Canyon plant is violating its operating license.

– From news service reports