It’s the story that had newsies buzzing all weekend, across Texas and well beyond state lines: the indictment of the state’s top attorney on three felony counts.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in today; he was fingerprinted and had his mugshot taken before being released. Paxton was charged on counts related to the work he did as an investment adviser a few years ago.
Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek was at the Collin County courthouse this morning. He says the charges are not explicitly related to Paxton’s time in office, either as Attorney General or state lawmaker.
On why it didn’t end at with a fine:
“This all kind of started up again when the Travis County District Attorney’s office declined to pursue a case in Houston late last year. They referred it to the district attorney’s office up here in Collin County. The district attorney in Collin County, who’s a friend and business partner of the attorney general, stepped aside. He brought in the Texas Rangers, and then two criminal defense attorneys from Houston were brought in to handle any potential indictments. And that’s kind of the lead up to what we’re seeing today.”
On what fellow Republicans are saying:
“So far, the Republican political response has been a little muted. … What you do hear so far from some conservative activists and Tea Party people is that this is just another case of the judicial system, or overzealous prosecutors basically trying to stump the rides of a Tea Party star. Any time there’s a lawmaker from the kind of Tea Party wing … who’s becoming popular and gaining higher office – this is what the activists are arguing – there’s always some attempt to knock them down a peg or two.”
On its comparison to former governor Perry’s indictment:
“I think so far from what you’ve heard, you have heard some comparisons. I do believe if you evaluate the facts that have come out so far, it’s going to be a little more difficult for Ken Paxton’s legal team to make the same kind of case that Perry’s legal team did. … You are going to hear, I think, from Ken Paxton’s team that the process leading up to this was not respectful and not 100 percent impartial.”