I’m sure this will be appealed, but for now it’s a win for them.
A Harris County district judge has sided with the special prosecutors handling Ken Paxton’s securities fraud case in their years-long effort to get paid.
The judge, Andrea Beall, ruled Tuesday that the prosecutors, Brian Wice and Kent Schaffer, are owed the $300-an-hour rate by the county that they were promised when they started on the case in 2015. They have not gotten paid since January 2016 after Collin County, the original venue for the case, balked at the payment schedule, prompting years of legal wrangling over it.
The prosecutors included Beall’s ruling — made under seal — in a new filing with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The prosecutors are asking the court to force Collin County to pay them.
The pay dispute was one of the last remaining issues to settle before Paxton goes to trial in the case. The trial is set to start April 15, 2024.
“Judge Beall’s well reasoned decision clearly falls within the zone of her inherent and virtually unlimited judicial discretion,” Wice and Schaffer said in a statement. “We’re confident that the Court of Criminal Appeals will enforce her lawful order with all deliberate speed and finally put an end to Collin County’s incessant, transparent, and purely political ploy to derail Ken Paxton’s prosecution by defunding it.”
Paxton’s lawyers argued Thursday that the prosecutors are trying to further delay the trial.
“Once again, the Special Prosecutors are making clear that their prosecution of Ken Paxton is all about money and not justice,” Paxton’s lead lawyers, Philip Hilder and Dan Cogdell, said in a statement. They added Paxton “just wants his day in court” and, “Yet, the Special Prosecutors seem content pushing that day further back with its dilatory sideshow of an appeal.”
See here and here for some background. The fact that Paxton’s attorneys did not spontaneously combust after claiming that all Kenny boy wants is “his day in court” is a marker of their quality as advocates, I must say. I assume Collin County will appeal, and I would hope it has no effect on the trial date – the prosecutors have been working without any pay for quite some time now, and Brian Wice in particular said he’s not going anywhere, so regardless of what the CCA does I trust the calendar can be maintained. The Press has more.