Former Texas Ranger Says He Told AG Paxton That Paul Was a "Criminal"

David Maxwell, former Texas Ranger and law enforcement director for the attorney general's office was sworn in Friday.
David Maxwell, former Texas Ranger and law enforcement director for the attorney general's office was sworn in Friday. Screenshot

Former Texas Ranger David Maxwell testified Friday that he warned Attorney General Ken Paxton of the dangers regarding his involvement with real estate investor Nate Paul.

It was the fourth day of testimony in the impeachment trial before Texas senators of the now suspended attorney general. Maxwell, one of the eight whistleblowers who took their concerns to authorities for allegedly using his office to benefit Paul, testified he told Paxton that he thought Paul was a "criminal."

Paul has said he was improperly targeted by federal and state authorities who conducted a raid on his business and properties and wanted the attorney general's office to assist in launching an investigation into the matter. In his testimony Friday, Maxwell said Paul’s allegations or “conspiracy theories” that the FBI and other legal agencies were intentionally going after him were “absolutely ludicrous.”

According to Maxwell, he told Paxton that “if he didn’t get away from this individual (Paul) and stop what he was doing, he was going to get himself indicted.”

Maxwell who was the law enforcement director for the AG's office, was fired by Paxton after he reported his boss to federal authorities. Paxton also has been accused of taking bribes from Paul.

Maxwell said he met with Paul three times to look into his allegations of a federal conspiracy. Maxwell testified that Paxton was angry with him for not buying into Paul's version of events. Earlier this year, A federal grand jury indicted the real estate investor on eight counts of making false statements to lenders .

Defense attorney Dan Cogdell challenged Maxwell about his statements that his meetings with Paul were in any way improper, saying that as an attorney he investigates the legality of search warrants all the time.

But Maxwell insisted that looking into these accusations on behalf of Paul and Wynne officially could have been considered an obstruction of justice and interference in a federal investigation – both criminal acts.

Maxwell's testimony followed that of former first assistant attorney general Jeff Mateer and former first deputy assistant to the attorney general Ryan Bangert earlier in the week. According to Maxwell, he met with Paul because Mateer said he was getting pressure from Paxton to do so, after Maxwell initially refused such a meeting.

Also Friday, Ryan Vassar, the former deputy attorney general for legal counsel continued his testimony that began on Thursday.

Vassar testified that although they didn't have documentation of Paxton's involvement with Paul, the whistleblowers thought their testimony to federal investigators would be enough.

Defense attorney Tony Buzbee has accused whistleblowers of conspiring with former Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, to attack Paxton. Bush was one of Paxton's Republican challengers for the office of attorney general in the last election.

click to enlarge
Dan Cogdell, another Paxton lawyer, led the questioning Friday.
Proceedings wrapped up an hour earlier than expected with the end of Maxwell’s testimony, as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick adjourned the Senate until Monday morning. Patrick announced earlier on Friday that the trial would hit the halfway mark at the end of the day.

According to Patrick, the prosecutors for the House impeachment managers have 12 hours remaining to present their witnesses, and defense attorneys have 11 hours left of the total 24-hour allotment.

Patrick ended Friday’s hearing before calling the fifth witness to take the stand on Monday; the Senate has heard from four of the eight whistleblowers.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.