He’s looking for help after the guy he picked initially backed out.
A former state appeals court judge on Saturday turned down an appointment to serve as an adviser to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during the upcoming impeachment trial of indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Brown’s announcement that he would not participate came suddenly after The Texas Tribune reached out about a campaign donation he made in 2021 to a Paxton political opponent.
In a letter Saturday to Patrick declining the appointment, Brown cited the $250 contribution that he and his wife made in 2021 to the campaign of Eva Guzman, a former state Supreme Court justice who tried to unseat Paxton in the Republican primary. Brown said he had not actively campaigned for any candidate since becoming a district judge in 2010.
“I did not recall that during our meetings with your staff,” Brown wrote about the contribution. “I have full confidence in my ability to fairly offer legal advice in this matter. However, the proceedings commencing on Sept. 5, 2023 are far too important to the State of Texas for there to be any distractions involving allegations of favoritism or personal bias on my part.”
Patrick said Friday he had picked Brown “after several months of searching.”
Trial rules grant Patrick — who as the leader of the Senate serves as the impeachment trial’s presiding officer — the option of selecting his own legal counsel.
“I was looking for a candidate with real-life courtroom experience as a lawyer and a judge who would serve as counsel and work side-by-side with me through this process,” Patrick said in a statement. “Justice Brown meets these criteria with his years of front-line experience as a courtroom lawyer and trial court judge and also brings a well-rounded perspective from his experience as a former appellate justice.”
Turns out Justice Brown, who lost his seat on the 14th Court of Appeals in the 2018 Democratic sweep, has a commendable amount of personal ethics, too. You know, the whole “appearance of impropriety” thing. That’s an example that maybe Patrick himself ought to consider following. But if that’s not possible, I do have a suggestion for how he could find an advisor who has no history of giving to either Ken Paxton or one of his opponents: Pick a Democratic judge. I’ll give you a break on my own hourly rate for that advice, Danno. Do with it what you will.