For Texas’ top lawman, what started out as a simple admission of a civil violation could now turn into a major crime.
A special prosecutor said Wednesday that he’ll ask a Collin County grand jury to indict Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on first-degree felony charges of violating state securities law.
Kent Schaffer, a Houston defense attorney, said a Texas Rangers investigation of Paxton revealed that the attorney general broke laws beyond what he admitted last year, when he was fined $1,000 by the State Securities Board.
“That’s what we intend to present to the grand jury,” said Schaffer, when asked whether Paxton committed a first-degree felony. “We have a sufficient amount of evidence. Whether it leads to a criminal indictment or not is up to the grand jury.”
Paxton could not be reached for comment and his advisers did not comment on the matter. But the attorney general is preparing for a legal fight. He’s hired former federal Judge Joe Kendall to help with his defense, according to a source close to him. That source said Kendall will be part of a team of lawyers, if Paxton is indicted by a grand jury.
A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in life imprisonment or five to 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Last month, when The Dallas Morning News asked a Paxton spokesman about the prospect of the attorney general being indicted, he was unmoved, saying “at least three entities have thoroughly reviewed these matters and each chose not to proceed.”
“We will continue defending the rule of law and remain focused on protecting Texans against Washington’s overreach.”
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