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When might Paxton be prosecuted?

Attorney Ty Clevenger thinks the clock may be running out on the grand jury in Collin County.

Ken Paxton

As best I can determine, the limitations deadline for charging Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton with state securities violations is June 14, 2015. If so, that means the grand jury must indict Mr. Paxton at its meeting tomorrow or at its next meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, or he cannot be prosecuted for those alleged violations.

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According to transcripts of administrative hearings that were conducted during the week of March 9, 2015, Mr. Mowery asked his clients to backdate numerous documents, including one that was backdated to June 14, 2012. (I’m probably not supposed to have the transcript, but here it is anyway; and here are the state’s closing brief and Mowery’s closing brief). According to pages 285 and 287 of that transcript, the document was backdated to make it appear that Mr. Mowery informed Henry Allen and his wife (whose first name is not listed) about the referral fee arrangement with Mr. Paxton.

In reality, the Allens did not learn about Mr. Paxton’s kickback referral fee until April of 2014, when Mr. Mowery asked them to sign the backdated document. I have not seen the document itself because I do not have the hearing exhibits, but two sources have independently told me that June 14, 2012 appears to be the last time Mr. Paxton solicited clients for Mr. Mowery. Add three years to that date, and your limitations deadline is June 14, 2015.

Meanwhile, a source tells me that special prosecutors Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer have promised to present the case to the grand jury before its term expires on June 16, 2015. Even so, I do not understand why the special prosecutors would wait until so near the limitations deadline to present the case. Granted, I don’t know what they know, but this case appears to be pretty straightforward. Mr. Paxton either solicited clients or he did not, and either he was registered as a securities representative or he was not.

The Travis County DA’s office had already investigated the case before Mr. Wice, Mr. Schaffer and the Texas Rangers were assigned, and Mr. Paxton had already signed a sworn statement and an agreed order with the State Securities Board accepting a $1,000 fine because he solicited clients in 2012 without being registered. In other words, it appears that our attorney general has already admitted under oath that he committed a felony.

So how many more details do Mr. Wice and Mr. Schaffer need to gather before they can present the case to the grand jury? I realize they may not be ready to go to trial, but an indictment does not require a trial because it is not a conviction. The prosecutors only need to convince grand jurors that it is more likely than not that Mr. Paxton committed a crime. The trial comes later (if it comes at all).

I sure hope that means they’re getting close to doing something. In the meantime, the two special prosecutors may have more room to investigate:

In late April, Judge Scott Becker appointed Houston criminal defense attorneys Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer as special prosecutors to assist in the “investigation and, if warranted, the prosecution of Ken Paxton for the securities law complaints currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers.”

In an amended order issued May 20, however, it was expanded to “any and all offenses arising out of Ken Paxton’s alleged violations of the Texas Securities Act.”

“I requested the scope of our investigation be expanded because of things that were uncovered in the course of the investigation,” Schaffer told the Chronicle Thursday. “We wanted to make sure the scope of our investigation was not limited by the original order. We were simply going where the evidence took us.”

Very interesting, wouldn’t you say? The Trib suggests that the expansion of scope could also mean an extension on the statute of limitations. You can expect that to come up in a motion to dismiss some day, if we get that far. Be that as it may, I can’t wait to see what happens next. And just think, if Paxton does get indicted, no one will be able to blame it on those dirty hippies in Travis County. Link via the Dallas Morning Views blog.

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