This week, we are most thankful for the gigantic turducken we will stuff into our face-hole with the vigor of an Olympic athlete. The second thing we are most thankful for is the latest motion filed by the special prosecutors in the securities fraud case against State Attorney General Ken "Brother, Have I Got a Great Deal For You" Paxton.
Paxton was slapped ever-so-gently on the wrist by a testicularly challenged Texas State Securities Board last year, for soliciting investors without being registered. He was subsequently indicted by a Colin County grand jury on three counts of violations of securities law, including soliciting investments in a troubled tech start-up without disclosing that he was being compensated.
So far, he's fought the charges on procedural violations, accusing the judge (and his wife!) of being part of a conspiracy against him. It's a particularly distasteful, discomfiting tactic coming from a sitting elected official — since the evidence against him is awfully strong, he can't really argue on the merits, so he has to kick up dust.
In Paxton's latest, a 31-page treatise against prosecutors Brian Wice, Kent Schaffer, and Nicole Deborde, the securities pitch-man regurgitates his argument that Colin County Judge Chris Oldner's "cumulative actions compromised the integrity of the indictment process." The motion takes issue with the prosecutors' "sarcam and inappropriate fictional analogies." (The names of all three prosecutors appear on the filings, but the writing bears the unmistakable flair of Houston's Brian Wice, complete with Animal House quotes and allusions to Mad Men's Don Draper).
Paxton accuses Oldner of leaking the contents of a sealed indictment, of interfering with grand jurors by walking into the grand jury room, and cherry-picking grand jurors. Prosecutors have rebutted these claims, which, as you'll notice, don't go to the heart of the matter: does Ken Paxton think what he did, in pushing Servergy stock, was legally and ethically sound?
"They are under the misguided belief that sound bites and quotes from fictional characters somehow trump Texas law and documented facts, and that they can project the failings of their own legal positions onto Paxton's well-reasoned analysis," Paxton's motion claims. "...Rather than seeking justice, they seek to win at the expense of justice and provide copious amounts of media fodder in the process."
Maybe Paxton should take a cue; unlike the prosecutors' motions, Paxton's are unintentionally hilarious. His I-have-no-actual-defense defense might be easier to swallow if it was sugar-coated in wit and anything resembling humanity: this is a guy who is accused of costing a couple their life savings — and profiting off their loss. Maybe some sort of explanation to the public, who want to be assured that their attorney general is not a shyster, would be more warranted than attack on the judge.
For example, it would be nice to hear from Paxton why he was taking money for steering people toward Servergy — currently under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — a company that appears to have more to do with a certain kind of fertilizer than technology. As we wrote in September:
The Servergy connection is one of the most intriguing elements of the case against Paxton. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is currently investigating the company, has accused Servergy of lying to investors by falsely claiming its data servers had already been sold to huge companies like Amazon and Freescale. According to the SEC, Servergy even lied to investors about the very servers it was selling, falsely claiming the machines required 80 percent less cooling, energy and space than others on the market. While Paxton hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing in the SEC probe, court records show the feds were looking for any Servergy documents bearing his name.
The special prosecutors' response to Paxton's motion is as expected: they accuse Paxton of relying not on "compelling argument and controlling legal authority, but with swagger and hyperbole."
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The filing accuses Paxton of going "immediately to DEFCON 1" and claims that "once again, the legal engine driving Paxton's response is stuck in neutral."
The prosecutors argue that, instead of being singled out and treated unfairly by Oldner, Paxton was actually given special treatment — he was allowed to turn himself in, instead of the prosecutors having a bench warrant entered into the system "so that Paxton could have been arrested by a member of his security detail." OH SNAP.
"Paxton has every right to avail himself of any and all principled legal arguments fairly supported by the evidence," the prosecutors' motion states. "But this panoply of constitutional protections does not entitle Paxton, even in a legal pleading, to recklessly and cruelly injure Judge Oldner, who now must bear a scar needlessly inflicted by Paxton's unsupported, unsupportable, and unwarranted accusation that formed the centerpiece of his reed-thin motions to quash these lawfully-obtained indictments."
We're sure it won't take long for Paxton to respond — but we're also certain this whole ordeal is far from over.