Grudgingly. For now.
The special prosecutors handling the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be paid for their work so far at the rate they were promised.
Commissioners voted 3-2 on Monday to pay the more than $254,000 in legal fees and expenses that have accumulated since April.
“We have very little discretion over the orders by the judiciary,” said County Judge Keith Self, who questioned the need for “gold-plated justice.”
The fees have come under scrutiny because they far exceed the $100,000 that the county budgeted for the case. They also exceed the amounts set out in Collin County’s rules, which call for a flat $1,000 fee plus $1,000 a day during trial for lawyers appointed in first-degree felony cases. The county’s rules also state that appointed attorneys will be paid only after the case has concluded.
In his orders for payment, Gallagher cited a section in the county’s rules that allows for variances “in unusual circumstances or where the fee would be manifestly inappropriate because of circumstances beyond the control of the appointed counsel.”
Self called for the special prosecutors to resign from the case so that a regional district attorney’s office be appointed to take over with guidance from a local investigator who works on securities law.
The move, he said, would substantially lower the costs without jeopardizing justice.
See here, here, and here for the background. Handing this case off to some county DA’s office might not jeopardize justice, but it sure would delay it, as it would take whatever poor attorneys that got saddled with this colossus months just to read through all the documents that have been generated so far. Maybe that wouldn’t seem so just to the guy who’s trying to clear his name, I don’t know. Anyway, if the good people of Collin County don’t like this arrangement, they should petition their legislators to come up with a better solution. But let’s be honest, Collin County is just complaining about the cost, and I’m afraid I have no sympathy for them. The good news for them is that the lawsuit to limit the prosecutors’ fees is still ongoing, and may wind up capping them from this point forward. But until then, pay up, y’all.