AG Paxton Sees Multiple Charges Dismissed

If he completes 100 hours of community service and abides by other pretrial agreement requirements, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will have the securities fraud charges against him dropped.

The deal, reached three weeks before Paxton’s trial, stipulates that he must complete fifteen hours of courses on legal ethics and compensates the people he is accused of defrauding more than a decade ago. He allegedly solicited investors in a technology company in McKinney without telling them the company was paying him to promote its stock. Prosecutor Brian Wice estimated a restitution payment of around $271,000 is due.

Thanks to the plea deal, Paxton avoids tens of thousands of dollars in penalties and expenses and the prospect of spending years in state jail. The deal also retains him in charge of the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Over the last decade, Pat Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, has been embroiled in scandal. Conflicts around the payment of special prosecutors and the trial site have prolonged the three felony securities fraud accusations he was charged with in July 2015. Paxton has agreed to compensate Joel Hochberg’s estate and former congressman Byron Cook as part of a pretrial settlement. A further third-degree crime accuses him of diverting customers to a friend’s investment advisory firm that he failed to register with the state securities regulator.

Accusing the investigation of being a politically driven witch hunt, Paxton has said he is innocent. The conditions were disclosed during a hearing before Andrea Beall, a state district judge in Harris County. In contrast to his performance during his impeachment trial, Paxton will not be subject to inquiries under oath as a result of the pretrial agreement. When the Texas Supreme Court prohibited depositions for Paxton and three senior aides earlier this year, he and the other defendants were spared from being deposed in the continuing whistleblower litigation.

While facing indictments for securities fraud and corruption allegations leveled by his senior deputies, Paxton has skillfully sidestepped controversy on many occasions and won reelection on both occasions.

Former President Trump has frequently defended Paxton.