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.
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.