Seven years later, there is still no trial against Texas AG Ken Paxton.


Few people charged with a felony go seven years without trial. One of them is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The twists and turns, which have yet to appear in court after the Republican Party, who is about to run for a third term on Tuesday after being charged with securities fraud, are hardly comparable in American politics. And in the process, it reversed what it meant to be a compromised public official in Texas.

Four different judges oversaw his case at some point. The trial will take place – if it does – from Dallas to Houston and then back to Dallas to play ping-pong. Meanwhile, another cloud gathered over Paxton. The FBI is investigating him on a separate charge of corruption, and Texas state attorneys are weighing possible denunciations of attempts to overthrow the 2020 elections.

Once, almost a year passed with the case not moving at all.

There is no single reason to explain the delay. But overall, Paxton exemplifies how strong allies and acts of god can elicit career-threatening criminal charges and go beyond politicians being judged as politicians.

“This is crazy,” said Andrew Wheat, leader of Texans For Public Justice. His group filed a complaint with the prosecution in 2014 over Paxton’s failure to register as a securities adviser. are fighting

Mill doubts that a trial will take place. “And by the time it comes true, if so, what does it mean?” he said.

Paxton, who would face five to 99 years in prison if convicted, pleaded not guilty. His lawyers point out that Paxton is blaming the special prosecutor, who has been fighting for a long time over how much he’s paid for delaying his case and where he should go to trial, asserting his right to an expedited trial.

How important the case is is a question already answered by Texas Republican lawmakers.

Paxton was re-elected in 2018 when felony charges were still on the front page. He is now on the verge of being nominated again in a runoff against Texas land commissioner George P. Bush on Tuesday. George P. Bush finished second in the four-man primary in March, but is still 20% behind Paxton.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush Bush, son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush and his last still in office, has spread indictments across the screen and called Paxton unfit for office. Bet on a comeback in TV commercials. Paxton has largely ignored the attack, showing support for former President Donald Trump. Most senior Republicans in Texas have been hesitant to express their concerns, but there was a rare exception when Senator John Connin called the unresolved case “embarrassed” days before the runoff.

“Obviously the voters will have access to that information,” Cornyn said last week. “They will make their own decisions and you can’t predict what the outcome will be.”

The indictment accuses Paxton of deceiving investors in a Dallas-area tech startup by not disclosing that he was paid for employment at a company called Servergy. The indictment came just months after Paxton took office as Texas’ top law enforcement officer.

Soon after, Paxton’s allies took the lead in attacking the special prosecutor’s $300 an hour as an abuse of taxpayer money. Local leaders in Colleen County, home of Republican-controlled Paxton, agreed to and voted for a pay cut.

Since then, the criminal case has progressed little by little. After the 2017 hurricane brought the court system to a standstill, the coronavirus pandemic has further slowed its pace. As it stands, the special prosecutor is awaiting an appeal ruling in the Texas Supreme Criminal Court to settle the payment issue and put Paxton’s case in Houston.

Philip Hilder, one of Paxton’s attorneys, said, “The prolonged delay in the trial was in no way due to Paxton’s improper influence.”

“In fact, Mr. Paxton insisted on a right to a speedy trial. Paxton is innocent of these charges and long ago wanted to spend the day in a proper courtroom.”

In the meantime, Paxton faces new investigations in 2020 after eight of these top agents charged rich donor Nate Paul abusing his office to help resist an initial FBI investigation into the developer.

Both federal investigations are ongoing, gathering Paul’s business records in recent months and asking how much the developer paid Paxton, according to those familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the investigation is ongoing.

Paul, who did not respond to a request for comment by counsel, denied paying a bribe to Paxton. The Attorney General has broadly denied the offense and his lawyer declined to comment on the FBI investigation.

In New Jersey, a two-year corruption charge against Democrat Senator Bob Menendez ended in a 2017 jury dismissal. In Texas, lawyers and legal experts struggled to recall a case as long as Paxton without resolution. .

State Assemblyman Gene Wu, a Democrat and attorney who served as a prosecutor in Houston for three years, said the delay was unprecedented, saying even high-level cases in Texas’ largest counties could be tried in two to three years.

“Justice is not being realized because there are legitimate criminal acts and the people charged have the money and the power,” Wu said.

There is no time limit for your claim to Paxton to expire. “But as a practical matter, the courts will be concerned. People’s memories are blurred,” said David Kwak, co-director of the Criminal Justice Institute of the University of Houston’s legal team.

The incident didn’t last longer than Wheat’s watch group, but it was scaled down. He said financial aid to a nonprofit organization that filed a complaint in 2014 that led to the indictment of former Texas governor Rick Perry has been struggling in recent years.

After being put to a runoff, Paxton’s campaign raised over $2 million in about three months.

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Bleiberg reported from Dallas.

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