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State Appeals Court Rules Criminal Case Against Attorney General Paxton Can Proceed

AG Ken Paxton’s attorney says the defense will decide soon whether to ask the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to dismiss the three felony indictments.



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The Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals has ruled the criminal fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton can move forward.

Paxton's attorney, Bill Mateja, says the defense will decide soon whether to appeal again, this time to the state's highest criminal court. Paxton's final chance of having the charges against him dismissed before going to trial rests with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

David Kwok is an assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center. He says the chances are slim the court would throw out the charges at this point.

"The appellate courts are applying a relatively deferential standard, which is to say they're saying, ‘Look, something has to be really, really wrong for us to intervene at this early stage before the trial court has had a stab at any of this,'" Kwok says.

Brandon Rottinghaus, who teaches political science at the University of Houston, says the charges are serious enough to interfere with Paxton's ability to carry out his elected duties.

"There's an old saying that I'll adapt, and that is if trouble was dirt, the attorney general's troubles would cover about an acre," Rottinghaus says.

Paxton was indicted nearly a year ago on charges of defrauding wealthy investors in a tech startup, dating back to his days as a state legislator. He's facing three state felony counts, two of securities fraud and one of failing to register with the state securities board.

He's also facing a federal civil lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Criminal Indictment Against Paxton

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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