Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Another look at how long the Paxton case could take

The DMN makes the same comparisons that I have made.

Best mugshot ever

Best mugshot ever

Ken Paxton has spent eight months — the majority of his time as attorney general — under indictment.

The legal cloud shows no sign of dissipating.

How long the case takes to resolve depends almost entirely on decisions made by Paxton and his legal team. Depending on when a Dallas appeals court rules on their most recent challenge to his securities fraud indictments, this legal battle could stretch on for months — and perhaps years.

Those who’ve counseled other politicians in legal trouble said Paxton now has a tough choice between playing the waiting game and pushing for an expedited trial that could be a liability for his party during election season.

“It’s a real chess game when you’ve got something like this,” said Dick DeGuerin, a Houston attorney who defended former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay after their indictments. “The quicker it can be resolved, and resolved in their favor, the quicker they can get back to the job they’ve been elected to do — and get re-elected.”


Paxton and his attorneys have several possible paths ahead of them.

If they fail [at the Fifth Court of Appeals] in Dallas, they could forgo more appeals and proceed to trial. Or they could take the case all the way to the state’s top criminal court in Austin. The special prosecutors have the same option, if the Dallas bench decides to quash Paxton’s indictments.

Austin lobbyist Bill Miller said he has no doubt the case will end up in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

If he’s correct, the case may not be resolved for years. The appeals court is famously slow in its decision-making. DeLay’s case was more complicated than Paxton’s, but it took nearly a decade for the court to render a decision that vindicated the Sugar Land congressman.

And the longer Paxton’s case continues, the more it costs Collin County taxpayers, who must pay for his prosecution. The price tag so far has topped $254,000.

“This is a ‘full-in’ deal. No matter what the outcome is, the next level is ‘up,’” said Miller, who described himself as “a friend” of Paxton’s, but who added he hasn’t spoken to the attorney general about his strategy. “From my perspective, delay is the best thing because going to trial just gins up enormous bad press.”


[John Weekley, a Dallas-area political analyst and former Bush campaign consultant] said yet another option is available to Paxton. He suggested the attorney general consider what is best for his party this year, and delay his trial until just after the general election in November. This would ensure that other Republicans don’t see their races overshadowed by his criminal proceedings, but still gives him enough time to work on rehabilitating his image before his own re-election.

“If I were advising him, I would hope he would wait until right after the election, and then do what he has to do to dispose of this,” Weekley said. “Then, he has to work on his political reputation.”

See here for my attempt to put together a timeline for this. What the armchair quarterbacks in this story are saying is that there are three basic possibilities: 1) Delay as much as possible, mostly in the hope of getting a favorable result from an appeals court; 2) Push for as quick a resolution as possible because the longer this drags out the harder it’s going to be to pay for it, among other things; and 3) Just delay long enough to get past this year’s election, then try to get it resolved before 2018, as that is best for the GOP as well as for Paxton. My guess, for what it’s worth, is that Paxton will go with Option 1 and not worry too much about how he’s going to keep his lawyers paid. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is entirely plausible to me that Ken Paxton could be on the ballot in 2018 having been convicted but appealing his conviction. I agree that there are plenty of other possible ways this plays out, and to be sure he could get off in any number of them. I don’t think Paxton cares about what the effect on the Republican Party as a whole may be – honestly, I’m not sure anyone currently in a position of power within the Republican Party has given that much thought – so this will take as long as it takes. We’ll get a much better idea of this once we have a ruling from the Fifth Court.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.