Meanwhile, back in Dallas, the 5th Court of Appeals had a hearing on the never-ending lawsuit by a Collin County crony to cut off payments to the Ken Paxton special prosecutors.
On its face, the lawsuit filed by Jeffory Blackard, who has donated to Paxton’s campaign, appears to be an attempt to undermine the prosecution of the attorney general, who faces three counts of felony securities fraud in McKinney.
But Blackard’s attorney, Edward Greim, argued that the case is about a taxpayer fighting government excess. In January, the appeals court ordered Collin County to stop paying the three lawyers prosecuting Paxton’s criminal fraud case until the justices could hear the case. Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis recused himself from trying the case because he and Paxton are friends. Special prosecutors were hired in his place.
The heart of the suit comes down to whether a taxpayer can block payments to special prosecutors on the grounds that the fees are illegal and not simply unreasonable.
“Is there a difference between unwise and illegal decisions?” asked Justice David J. Schenck.
The attorney for the special prosecutors, David Feldman, said such lawsuits take the decisions away from the elected officials — in this case, county commissioners. And he said this lawsuit could open the door for more taxpayer lawsuits nitpicking every penny spent.
“Why have a representative form of government? We should just try everything through the judiciary,” Feldman said.
See here and here for some background. The case was rescheduled from May to September at the request of the prosecutors so this matter can be resolved. As you know, I think the plaintiff’s argument is ridiculous, but I also think the state needs to pick up the tab here. The latter isn’t going to happen, so Collin County needs to suck it up. We’ll see what the judges think.