Smearing the prosecutor is just about the dumbest thing a defendant in a criminal case can do. The second dumbest thing is to threaten the prosecutor. Perry appeared to do just that at the end of his press conference yesterday when he said, “And those responsible will be held to account.” It sounded very much like a threat.
Needless to say, the prosecutor has all of the advantages in these circumstances. And, sure enough, Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor in the case, said, “It is ridiculous and disappointing for Perry’s lawyer to suggest that politics are at play in the indictment of the governor.” The prosecutor is always going to get the last word. While the statement might echo a famous line from Casablanca–“I am shocked, shocked, that there is gambling taking place in this establishment”–it wasn’t wise of Perry’s lawyer to have said, earlier, that the indictment against Perry represents “political abuse” of the court system. These attacks seldom succeed, and this one ran aground swiftly. McCrum responded, “He can only be implying that it’s either me or the grand jury system that is motivated by politics, because of the many conversations with [Perry”s lawyer] where he knows full well that [politics] was never an issue in our discussions.” That put the onus squarely back on Perry’s lawyer.