Perry asks to miss court date citing overseas trip

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2014 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, arrives at the Blackwell Thurman Criminal Justice Center for booking, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2014 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, arrives at the Blackwell Thurman Criminal Justice Center for booking, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN (AP) — Attorneys for indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked Monday that the Republican be allowed to skip his next court appearance because he’ll be out the country — and that he not be forced to attend subsequent pretrial hearings where no evidence is presented.

In a five-page motion, Perry’s defense team asked a judge to excuse the governor from a hearing scheduled for Oct. 13 due to “long-standing plans to be in Europe” for an Oct. 12-19 tour to encourage foreign investment in Texas.

It added, “The governor’s presence in court — along with his security detail — will involve a not insubstantial disruption of the normal operating functions” of the courthouse in Travis County, which includes Austin.

The motion said that if Perry is compelled to appear, the hearing should be delayed until at least until Oct. 20.

An Austin grand jury indicted Perry last month on two felony counts of abuse of power for threatening to veto state funding for a public corruption investigative unit. The governor issued the promised veto after the Democratic district attorney who oversees the unit refused to resign following her drunken driving conviction — drawing an ethics complaint against Perry from a left-leaning watchdog group.

Perry was booked and had a mug shot taken in Austin, but was in New Hampshire and didn’t appear at the case’s only other court date on Aug. 22. That’s when Texas District Judge Bert Richardson, Perry defense attorney David Botsford and the special prosecutor leading the case against the governor, Michael McCrum, met in the judge’s chambers to discuss scheduling.

Monday’s motion said Botsford met last week with McCrum, who said he believed Perry should be required to appear Oct. 13 and at all subsequent non-evidentiary hearings. Perry’s attorneys counter that, “It’s certainly not unusual for a judge to waive a defendant’s presence at a non-evidentiary pretrial hearing.”

“In 37 years of practicing criminal defense, Mr. Botsford has never encountered a prosecutor who opposed such a request, in state or federal court,” their motion said.

McCrum did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

Perry isn’t up for re-election in November but hasn’t ruled out a second White House run in 2016. He’s traveled frequently to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which kickoff presidential voting, and has also bolstered his foreign policy credentials with recent trips overseas.

__

Associated Press Writer Jim Vertuno contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s