Now he gets to deal with those almost-decade-old state securities fraud charges against him. And we may even get a trial date!
All eyes will be on the Harris County Criminal Courthouse when impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appears before a judge in Houston. Paxton ordered to show up in person at a hearing in the long-delayed felony securities fraud case against him.
The criminal case against Paxton has been going on for eight years. The three-county felony indictment came down in 2015 in north Texas. Now, eight years later and after many delays about venue, the case is moving forward exactly where Paxton didn’t want it to.
“There’s nothing about this case that’s normal,” KHOU legal analyst Carmen Roe said. “This will be the first time Kenneth Paxton has ever shown up on a regular docket at 9 a.m. with every other criminal defendant in the building.”
With an impeachment trial in Austin looming, Paxton is now ordered to appear in person before Harris County Judge Andrea Beall. Roe says the judge is sending a message.
“The fact this newly elected Democratic judge is insisting on his presence in person on Thursday means that this case is going to move forward at a much higher rate of speed than in the past,” Roe said.
Paxton is facing three felony counts for failing to register as a securities adviser and allegedly persuading two investors to buy at least $100,000 worth of stock in the tech company Severgy without disclosing he would be paid for it.
He turned himself in in 2015.
“There’s no question that this criminal trial will be much more serious for Kenneth Paxton in regards to consequences,” Roe said. “The idea of losing his job is one thing. The idea of going to state prison is quite a different thing.”
“He’s going to be facing a trial date here in Harris County,” said Roe. “Whether or not he’s impeached will be a gamechanger for this trial.”
In June, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Paxton’s trial would be here in Harris County, ending a multi-year journey of claims and appeals that began with the original change of venue from Collin County. Paxton himself did all the initial fighting in this, with the special prosecutors picking it up later to keep the trial here. There was a quote in a non-paywalled early version of a Statesman story about this from one of his defense attorneys that grumbled about how long this whole process has taken, and it was a good thing I wasn’t consuming any food or drink when I read that because I would have choked. I feel pretty confident at this point that the prosecutors are ready anytime now.
Anyway. This hearing will be short, my guess is most likely to just set the agenda for what is to come. I’m so ready for something to happen here. Reform Austin has more.
UPDATE: Here’s the Trib story about this.