A prominent real estate developer has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop payments to the private attorneys appointed to prosecute Attorney General Ken Paxton — the latest twist in the Republican’s securities fraud case.
Jeff Blackard, a Paxton donor, filed the lawsuit in Collin County District Court, arguing that the county was paying too much to the attorneys prosecuting Paxton, violating local rules for such payments.
“This lawsuit seeks to halt a threatened expenditure of public funds that would unlawfully serve to enrich private attorneys at the expense of taxpayers in Collin County, Texas,” says the complaint, filed on behalf of Blackard and “similarly situated taxpayers.”
Blackard says he lives in Hopkins County but pays taxes for two parcels of property in Collin County, along with local sales taxes.
The lawsuit names as defendants District Judge George Gallagher — who is presiding over Paxton’s case — as well as Collin County Judge Keith Self, County Auditor Jeff May and three county commissioners.
Blackard argues that promised payments of $300 per hour to the special prosecutors “would constitute an illegal expenditure of taxpayer funds” because they would eclipse fees typically paid to attorneys appointed to represent poor defendants.
See here and here for some background. Personally, I think this is bush league. This is a big case, it’s going to require that the prosecutors involved spend a lot of time on it, and they should be compensated fairly. I really don’t see what’s so controversial about that. The law may see it differently, however. I’m not at all clear on what that is, but I know what it ought to be. We’ll see if this suit has any merit. I won’t be surprised if this litigation has a life span as long as the Paxton case itself does.