Ken Paxton’s Deftness At Distraction

The Texas attorney general has appealed to conservatives through legal challenges that have little chance of success. He’s also being investigated by the FBI.

By Terri Langford & Caroline CovingtonDecember 21, 2020 1:01 pm,

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton thrust himself into the national spotlight last month when he filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the outcome of November’s general election. That was one of many provocative legal moves by Paxton that Atlantic writer, and former Texas Monthly senior editor, Carlos Sanchez, says is part of Paxton’s deftness at distraction – his way of “occupying the stage on his own terms.”

Paxton has good reason to turn the attention toward these cases because they are a diversion from his own legal challenges. He is currently under investigation by the FBI for bribery, and was also indicted in 2015 for securities fraud. That case has been delayed for five years.

But Sanchez says the cases Paxton takes on are not merely publicity stunts. Paxton has successfully appealed to conservative Texans for years, whether it was during his time in the legislature, or as attorney general, by taking on causes or cases that may not win in court but do in the court of public opinion. The recent Supreme Court case is one example. He seemed to have a similar tactic as a Texas lawmaker.

“He sponsored a lot of legislation that appealed to conservatives, particularly to social conservatives, that didn’t go anywhere. But he resonated because of the stance that he took,” Sanchez said.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How Paxton has thrust himself further into the public eye amid a criminal investigation

– Whether Paxton was angling for a pardon from President Trump by filing his lawsuit with the Supreme Court

– How Paxton has managed to delay his securities fraud case for five years

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