Time for an OG Paxton scandal update.
The state’s top appeals court on Wednesday agreed to take up the question of where Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton should be tried for alleged securities fraud, a small victory for prosecutors pursuing the criminal cases against the Republican official.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will settle whether Paxton’s trials should be held in Collin County, where the attorney general’s legal team would like to make their case, or in Harris County. Special prosecutor Brian Wice on Wednesday said a lower court decision to move the case to Collin County was a mistake.
“We’re confident today’s decision means the Court of Criminal Appeals will agree,” Wice said in a statement.
Paxton, a Republican, has been under active indictment for the majority of his time in statewide office.
In 2017, the cases against Paxton were moved after a judge previously presiding over the case agreed with prosecutors that they might struggle to get a impartial jury in Collin County, where the alleged crimes took place but also where Paxton lived and worked for decades.
Paxton’s lawyers took issue with the move to Harris County, which is more liberal politically. They challenged the decision by arguing that the judge’s time presiding over the case had already expired when he made it. In summer 2021, a Houston appeals court agreed with Paxton that Collin County was the proper venue for the cases against him and that any subsequent trials should be held there.
The prosecutors asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider that decision. It put the move on hold last year, and now will formally take up the issue and make the final decision on where the trials should be held.
See here for the previous update. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get a final determination about where the trial will be some time this year, though that’s probably too optimistic. In any event, this is now what appears to be the last obstacle in place before the trial itself can occur. If the original indictments of Ken Paxton were a person, it would now be old enough to be in first grade. Let’s hope we get a resolution to all this before it goes to high school.