Suspended AG Ken Paxton To Stand Trial in Harris County [UPDATED]

The securities fraud charge cases against suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are now scheduled for Harris County.
The securities fraud charge cases against suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are now scheduled for Harris County. Screenshot

Update 2:50 p.m.

Tony Buzbee, Houston-based lawyer and the lead defense attorney in Paxton’s impeachment
proceedings, issued this statement in response to the court’s decision:

"Today’s decision doesn’t matter. This case is a loser and that’s why the so-called prosecutors
have continued to delay this case for almost a decade now. This case has been before the
Court of Criminal Appeals for nearly two years and the timing of today’s decision was no
coincidence specifically time and designed to create maximum negative press and political
damage to the Attorney General and targeted to hurt him with the Senate.”

Original story:

Suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be tried on securities fraud charges in Harris County, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided Wednesday morning.

Legal proceedings on these felony cases were delayed for several years, under accusations that Paxton had obstructed justice and abused the judicial process.

The timing of the trial was also impeded by payment disputes over the amounts paid to the special prosecutors, and the location of where the trial would be held.

Paxton was initially indicted in 2015 and charged with two first-degree felonies over allegations that he persuaded investors to put money into a McKinney-based company in order to receive shares of their stock. In addition to one third-degree felony under claims he solicited clients to an investment firm without Texas registration required to do so.

These charges originate in Collin County, notably where Paxton has a large political base; however, the then-presiding judge moved the trial to Harris County in 2017, after deciding that it would be difficult for the jury assembled to be unbiased for this reason.

Collin County was also a location consideration this time around, but the appeals court agreed with the former judge’s decision.

This may prove to be an unfavorable choice for Paxton and his legal term as the attorney general’s hometown leans more conservatively and might have garnered additional support, during the proceedings.

Paxton’s lawyers could challenge the court’s decision and have done so in the past successfully in 2021 when the cases were brought back to Collin County.

The timing of the court’s actions could mean that the attorney general would stand trial for the felony fraud charges at the same time he is facing impeachment in the Senate. The date for this trial is still undetermined; however, a committee of senators will meet on June 20 to adopt rules for the proceedings.

Paxton pleaded not guilty to these charges. If convicted, he could face anywhere from two to 99 years in prison.
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Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.