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Miles Brissette

Collin County grand jury declines to add to Ken Paxton’s problems

He’s got that going for him, which is nice.

Best mugshot ever

Best mugshot ever

A Collin County grand jury looking into a 2004 land sale tied to a business group involving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has decided to drop its investigation, a lawyer for the McKinney Republican said Wednesday.

Since November, two special prosecutors appointed by state District Judge George Gallagher of Fort Worth have been looking into criminal allegations related to a sale of land that later became the site of Collin Central Appraisal District. The sale involved a limited partnership that included Paxton, Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis and eight other partners.

Paxton lawyer Bill Mateja said in a statement that the attorney general and his legal team were confident from the beginning that the grand jury would take no action.

“We would like to thank the special prosecutors for their diligence in reviewing all aspects of this matter and for reaching out to General Paxton to obtain his cooperation in their investigation,” Mateja said.

Special prosecutors Bob Gill and Miles Brissette issued a statement Wednesday afternoon confirming the development.

“After reviewing voluminous documents, hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses and conducting an exhaustive examination of all relevant information, the grand jury concluded that no further action was warranted,” they said.

See here and here for the background. Paxton still has plenty of troubles to worry about, but if there’s one person who’s likely breathing a sigh of relief at this, it’s Collin County DA Greg Willis. Regardless, it’s one less thing for Paxton to have to pay his attorneys, and that’s something. Trail Blazers has more.

More special prosecutors for Paxton

Uh, oh.

Best mugshot ever

Best mugshot ever

Two additional special prosecutors have been appointed to look into other allegations of criminal misconduct involving Attorney General Ken Paxton, News 8 has learned.

The two Fort Worth attorneys – Miles Brissette and former state district Judge Bob Gill – were appointed Nov. 13 to investigate “criminal allegations” involving Paxton and others, according to filings obtained by News 8. The filings do not state who the “others” are.

News 8 has learned that the two men are looking into a 2004 land deal involving Paxton and other investors including Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis. That land would later become the site of the Collin Central Appraisal District.

[…]

Brissette and Gill were appointed by Tarrant County Judge George Gallagher, who was appointed to oversee the criminal cases already pending against Paxton.

The appointment of Brissette and Gill came after Ty Clevenger, a Collin County lawyer and blogger, raised questions about the land deal involving the site where the appraisal district was later built.

“The value of the property increased dramatically,” he told News 8 this past summer. “It appears there was some kind of insider information.”

Clevenger has previously sent letters to a Collin County grand jury asking that they investigate the land deal. He’s also alleged that Willis stymied the investigation of Paxton, his one-time friend and business associate.

See here for some background. Clevenger, who has been beating this drum for some time now, was calling for another special prosecutor to investigate this back in October; he has quite a bit more detail on what this is all about, if you want to take a deeper dive. For now, both Team Paxton and Collin County DA Willis are saying what you’d expect, that this is all routine, they’ve been fully cooperating, yadda yadda yadda. These things take time to develop, and it’s entirely possible that nothing will come of it. Still, this can’t be a good feeling for either of those gentlemen today.

Also, too:

Paxton is currently under indictment for two first-degree counts of securities fraud and count of failing to register as an investment advisor. He has denied any wrongdoing. Two other special prosecutors – Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer – are heading up that investigation.

Wice, Shaffer and a third special prosecutor are being $300 an hour. They have already turned in legal bills in excess of $250,000, with more to come.

Collin County Judge Keith Self has accused Wice and Schaffer of fleecing the county. He has called on them to resign.

However, with the appointment of Brissette and Gill, it means that the legal bills facing Collin County will continue to mount.

Suck it, Collin County Commissioners Court. The Trib, PDiddie, and Trail Blazers have more.

UPDATE: The Lone Star Project and the Chron have more.