Texas Gov. Rick Perry was defiant as he was booked on two felony charges of abusing power Tuesday, saying he would "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."
Dozens of supporters chanting his name and holding signs, some saying "Stop Democrat Games," greeted him when he arrived at the Travis County courthouse in Austin.
Neither the offices for Perry nor his attorneys were immediately available for comment. Perry is due to be arraigned on Friday. The indictment has cast a shadow over Perry's possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination, with experts predicting that legal wrangling in the case is likely to stretch into the 2016 election cycle.
Despite his legal troubles, Perry is planning a trip this weekend to New Hampshire, a key state for presidential hopefuls.
A grand jury handed up the indictment on Friday, charging Perry with carrying out a threat to veto $7.5 million in funding for the state's public integrity unit after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused to resign following a well-publicized drunken driving arrest. Perry faces charges that carry a maximum sentence of 109 years.
He became the target of an ethics probe last year after he vetoed millions in funding for the public integrity unit, which is run from the Travis County district attorney's office. Travis County — home to the state capital Austin — is a Democratic stronghold in the heavily Republican state.
Democrats have said Perry may have been looking to put an ally in charge of the unit, extending what they say is cronyism in his administration.
Perry has called the indictment politically motivated and pledged to fight the charges.
This weekend, when Perry visits New Hampshire, a key state with a primary vote early in 2016, Republicans will be watching how he handles his recent indictment and booking.
"I don't think (Republicans) will take the indictment so seriously but they want to see if this Rick Perry is able to contend with adversity the way the other Rick Perry was unable to," said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.
"The last time they saw him, he was stumbling around,” Scala said, referring to Perry’s bumbling performance in debates between Republican primary candidates in 2012.
Others who agree with Perry that the indictment is politically motivated and without substance say his record in office will be their focus.
"People are going to want to see what he's saying about immigration because that's an issue that's certainly going to come up in the November elections," said state senator and former Congressman Jeb Bradley. "They're also going to want to hear why is the Texas economy one of the best in the nation and what can we learn about it here in New Hampshire."
Al Jazeera and wire services