This image provided by the Austin Police Department shows Texas Gov. Rick Perry while being booked at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Austin, Texas, for two felony indictments of abuse of power on Aug. 19, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP)
Austin, Texas — Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry has formally pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that he abused his office when he vetoed state funding for public corruption prosecutors.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate entered his plea in a Travis County court filing. Perry also waived an arraignment that had been set for Friday.
Perry has been defiant since a grand jury in Austin indicted him last week on charges of trying to leverage his power to force the ouster of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. She had recently been arrested for drunken driving.
Perry vetoed $7.5 million for the state’s ethics watchdog unit in Lehmberg’s office after she refused to resign.
Dozens of supporters greeted Perry on Tuesday when he arrived at court for fingerprinting and his mug shot.