Lawyers for the Ken Paxton whistleblowers are moving forward with their lawsuit in Travis County after another judge cleared the way, asking the Austin-based court to force the attorney general and his top aides to sit for depositions.
The whistleblower lawyers filed a motion Tuesday to compel the depositions, calling it a last resort after they could not reach an agreement with lawyers for the Office of the Attorney General.
“OAG’s effort to resist these straightforward depositions is nothing more than a continuation of OAG’s cynical effort to deny Plaintiffs their right to access to the justice system,” the whistleblower lawyers wrote.
The whistleblower lawyers specifically want to take depositions from Paxton; Brent Webster, the first assistant attorney general; Lesley French Henneke, chief of staff at the agency; and Michelle Smith, Paxton’s longtime political aide. The lawyers proposed a schedule where Paxton is deposed Dec. 12, Webster on Dec. 14, Henneke on Dec. 18 and Smith on Dec. 20.
In their latest filing, the whistleblowers’ lawyers say the Burnet County lawsuit was just the latest delay tactic by Paxton’s side in the 3-year-old case. The lawyers asked the Travis County court to compel the depositions so that the whistleblowers “may at long last pursue justice.”
If the whistleblowers’ motion is granted, it would be the first time Paxton would be required to answer questions under oath related to the allegations of bribery and corruption made against him. Paxton did not take the stand in his Senate trial in September.
While the Burnet County judge, Stubbs, allowed the Travis County case to restart last week, the more recent lawsuit in his court remains pending. Stubbs set a Dec. 14 hearing on a motion by the whistleblowers to change the venue to Travis County.
See here for the previous update. I have a hard time seeing what the argument is for not allowing such depositions, though I’m confident that Team Paxton will make one and that it will be deeply annoying. I’m also not sure what remains to be argued in that Burnet County lawsuit, but I guess we’ll find out on December 14. In the meantime, let’s all think up what questions we’d like to ask Ken Paxton when he is under oath and the threat of perjury hangs over his guilty little head. I’m sure there’s a very long list.