Monday, August 03, 2015

Paxton updates

-- The Texas attorney general was arrested, booked, fingerprinted, and his mug shot taken this morning at the Collin County courthouse, after a grand jury unsealed indictments against him on three felony counts of securities laws violations.  He pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial.  He also posted personal-recognizance bonds totaling $35,000 and walked out of the courthouse twenty minutes after entering, through a side door to avoid press and protestors.

-- QR:

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s likely immediate successor if he were to resign, (First Assistant AG) Chip Roy, on Monday sent out a personal note to agency staff after Paxton was booked into the Collin County Jail on three securities-related charges.

“The Attorney General emphasized to me that he hoped this wouldn’t in any way harm any of the good people who work at the agency, whom, he has come to know and respect tremendously,” Roy wrote to agency staff. “But as you all know, life brings us lots of curve balls.”

-- Also from Harvey Kronberg: "Paxton jeopardy fundamentally different and has possibility of metastasizing":

Allegations not about political chicanery but instead swindling innocent civilians, the same kind of financial corruption that spawned the Tea Party after the Lehman Brothers collapse

Among the dozen or so statewide officeholders indicted over the last couple of decades, few have ever been convicted or served time. In many cases, the prosecution case was weak as when a state district judge directed the acquittal of Kay Bailey Hutchison because, as he told the jury, “the prosecution apparently has no theory of its case.”

With the exception of the Tom DeLay case, which was needlessly dragged out because an all-Republican appellate court ignored then-prosecutor Ronnie Earle’s request for an expedited review of the challenge to the finding of guilt, and let the case languish for four years.

In others, the high-priced defense lawyers simply out-lawyered the public sector prosecutor. Nevertheless, jurors have generally leaned sympathetically to political chicanery.

-- The eighteen other Texans (besides Ken Paxton) who have been indicted over the long history of the Lone Star State.

-- "Abbott and Patrick both issue terse statements on Paxton indictment":

Here’s Gov. Greg Abbott’s full statement:

"Everyone is entitled to due process under the law. As a former judge, I recognize this is the first step in a lengthy process and will respect that process as it moves forward."

The statement from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in full:

"It is important to recognize that an indictment is not a conviction. Under our Constitution, every person is innocent until proven guilty. I am confident our judicial system will weigh all the facts and applicable law with a blind eye for justice and Ken Paxton, like anyone else, will be afforded his day in court." 

Prior to these, Texas Republican leaders were deathly silent.

--  Here's more about the judge, the special prosecutors, and his defense attorney.  And here's more about those Republicans scrambling behind the scenes to replace him if/when he resigns.  They include two Texas Supreme Court justices.

Conspiracy theories have already emerged as to why “God’s Lawyer” is facing persecution – err, a prosecution that is partially based on Paxton's own admission to state regulators last year that he violated securities law.

Some might argue it is premature to speculate about how Abbott might handle the appointment of a successor to the Attorney General hand-picked by Ted Cruz and Tim Dunn. After all, the indictment is closer to the beginning of due process than the end and does not force his resignation.

But believe us at Buzz Central when we tell you that some of those who wish to step into the role have been working overtime behind the scenes to jockey for position. And unlike Paxton, none of the names we have heard so far would necessarily have the full-throated support of Sen. Cruz or midland oilman Dunn’s Empower Texans and allied organizations.

-- Yeah, about that Cruz connection.

For anyone asking the question: "How did a candidate like Paxton who already had a long record of unethical practices get elected?", the best answer is "Ted Cruz."

The race for the Republican nomination for Texas Attorney General was wide open in 2014. Paxton faced two other major candidates in the race, and none of the three were considered to be a favorite. The dead-heat nature of the race changed when Ted Cruz backed his close political ally, state Sen. Ken Paxton.

Cruz's support of Paxton was a signal to the extreme Tea Party activists who now control the Texas Republican Party. Paxton easily led the field in the first round primary and then stomped a more mainstream Republican candidate in the run-off.

Ted Cruz has called for the resignation of at least three Obama officials over policy disagreements and even said members of the U.S. Supreme Court who disagree with him should resign.

However, now that Ken Paxton has been indicted and is fighting to stay out of prison, Ted Cruz is laying low and refusing to make any public statements about the indictments. Clearly, Cruz’s support for Paxton has put him in a jam. If he speaks out in support of Paxton, he must explain how he can continue to back a politician facing evidence that he committed felony crimes. If he backs off of Paxton, he will anger Tea Party activists whose support he needs to compete in the Republican presidential primary.

More as it develops.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Another reason GOPers may not circle the wagons around him: Maybe some have their own personal investment "stories" with Paxton, have given him 2x the benefit of the doubt, and are finally having $$-based questions, as I blogged.