Texas Lawyer Common Ken Paxton, who got here below hearth this weekend with allegations of bribery and abuse of workplace by seven of his most senior aides, is not going to resign his submit because the state’s high lawyer, he mentioned Monday.
“Regardless of the hassle by rogue workers and their false allegations I’ll proceed to hunt justice in Texas and won’t be resigning,” Paxton mentioned in an announcement.
The assertion comes lower than two days after high aides with the company called for a criminal investigation of Paxton, writing “we’ve got a great religion perception that the lawyer basic is violating federal and/or state regulation together with prohibitions associated to improper affect, abuse of workplace, bribery and different potential felony offenses.”
Media reviews have tied the allegations to Paxton’s relationship with Nate Paul, an Austin actual property developer and Paxton donor. In keeping with the Houston Chronicle and Austin-American Statesman, former First Assistant Lawyer Common Jeff Mateer and the opposite officers felt compelled to behave after Paxton allegedly appointed a particular prosecutor to focus on “adversaries” of Paul.
In his restricted public statements on the allegations, Paxton has pointed the finger again on the high deputies accusing him of wrongdoing. However Paxton claimed Monday that he was merely investigating a case that had been despatched to the company, as is his duty.
“The Texas lawyer basic’s workplace was referred a case from Travis county concerning allegations of crimes regarding the FBI, different authorities companies and people. My obligation as lawyer basic is to conduct an investigation upon such referral,” Paxton mentioned. “As a result of workers from my workplace impeded the investigation and since I knew Nate Paul I finally determined to rent an out of doors unbiased prosecutor to make his personal unbiased willpower.”
Paul is a controversial actual property investor whose web price Forbes estimated at round $800 million in 2017, whose property embrace a few of Austin’s most prime downtown properties and a smattering of self-storage services. However his actual property empire has proven indicators of decline, with no less than 18 of Paul’s firms declaring chapter up to now yr, in keeping with the Austin Enterprise Journal. And in 2019, his house and enterprise workplace had been the targets of an FBI raid, in keeping with native information reviews.
Even after high Republicans referred to as the allegations regarding and U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, Paxton’s former chief deputy, referred to as for his resignation, Paxton signaled he’ll cost forward by way of the allegations.
Paxton on Monday introduced he would appoint Brent Webster, a former felony district lawyer in Williamson County, as his new first assistant lawyer basic, changing Mateer, who resigned Friday and was one of many seven high aides leveling accusations at Paxton.
With out commenting on the circumstances of Mateer’s departure, Paxton praised Webster’s “substantial real-world expertise.” Webster has additionally labored as a civil litigator and felony protection lawyer in personal observe, in keeping with a information launch from the Texas lawyer basic’s workplace.
“I’m assured that he’ll diligently and faithfully serve the workplace and the individuals of Texas,” Paxton mentioned in an announcement.
Roy referred to as on his former boss to resign from his submit Monday, turning into essentially the most high-profile Republican to take action up to now.
“For the nice of the individuals of Texas and the extraordinary public servants who serve on the Workplace of the Lawyer Common, Lawyer Common Ken Paxton should resign,” Roy mentioned in an announcement. “The allegations of bribery, abuse of workplace, and different expenses levied in opposition to him by no less than 7 senior leaders of the Workplace of the Lawyer Common are greater than troubling on the deserves.”
“However, any grace for him to resolve variations and reveal if the allegations are false was eradicated by his selection as a substitute to assault the very individuals entrusted, by him, to steer the workplace – a few of whom I do know nicely and whose character are past reproach.”
Roy referred to as the workplace of the lawyer basic “too crucial to the state and her individuals to depart in chaos.”
“The Lawyer Common deserves his days in court docket, however the individuals of Texas deserve a completely functioning AG’s workplace,” he added.
Roy served as Paxton’s preliminary first assistant lawyer basic throughout Paxton’s first time period, but resigned upon Paxton’s request in a serious shake-up of senior employees in 2015. He was elected to Congress as a Republican in 2018.
By Monday afternoon, Roy mentioned he would return marketing campaign donations from Paul, the true property investor tied up within the allegations in opposition to Paxton.
“Upon studying of the latest information about Nate Paul and the Lawyer Common, we combed our monetary information & discovered $2700 from a Nate Paul within the 2018 cycle. I don’t recall assembly Mr. Paul and it reveals as a web-based contribution,” Roy tweeted.
Edgar Walters contributed reporting.