AUSTIN – No arrest warrant was issued for Governor Rick Perry after a Travis County grand jury indicted him on two felony charges of coercion and abuse of official capacity. Instead the judge issued a summons, which means the governor does not have to surrender to be fingerprinted and photographed before his criminal case can proceed.
At some point, Perry will have to be booked to create a DPS tracking number, but it's uncertain how soon the governor will go through that process.
The governor maintains he is innocent and said he intends to fight the charges.
Perry's attorney, David Botsford, and the special prosecutor, Michael McCrum, will likely negotiate the governor's surrender and arraignment if they haven't already.
Botsford and McCrum agree to have the governor turn himself in at any of the state's 254 county jails.
"Botsford will call McCrum and figure out a time and a jail to do a walk-through for fingerprinting and mugshot when the booking area is cleaned up and empty," said Pete Schulte, a Dallas trial attorney who represents high-profile clients.
If Perry wants a personal recognizance bond, he'll most likely go through Travis County, Schulte added.
Perry's two felony charges stem from a threatened veto he made last year against Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. The governor, a Republican, wanted her to resign after a high-profile arrest for drunk driving. If she didn't, Perry said he would veto legislation to fund the Public Integrity Unit with $7.5 million to investigate public corruption statewide. That unit is overseen by Lehmberg's office.
Perry doesn't deny saying he would withhold the funding unless Lehmberg stepped aside. The governor said he lost confidence in her and he argues that a veto is an executive privilege afforded to him by the Texas Constitution.
But critics said when the governor verbalized his threat to cut off funding, that might have crossed the line legally rather than just vetoing the bill.
"If I had to do it again, I would make exactly the same decision," Perry told FOX News on Sunday.
Perry later brushed off a question about whether he's worried he might be convicted of one or both of the felonies.
What's uncertain though is how protective Perry's staff will be of his image during this process. Will the governor walk through a pack of cameras to get fingerprinted and his mugshot? Perry is believed to be running for president again, though he hasn't officially announced it. Last week, he had a successful trip to Iowa and the governor has found a new wave of conservative support after sending a surge of State Troopers to the Texas-Mexico border.
The governor is scheduled to be in New Hampshire later this week.
But in 2005, when U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted for money laundering charges, he dodged cameras at the Fort Bend County Jail, his hometown, and sneaked into Houston's Harris County Jail to be booked. DeLay, who now lives in Washington, DC, had his conviction overturned last September.
DeLay's mugshot looked more like a campaign glossy than a stereotypical shot. The congressman was not holding a placard with his name or any identifying numbers, but instead he was smiling in a suit and tie with a pin on his lapel.