Once upon a time, Texas Attorney General Ken "The Stock Whisperer" Paxton was charged with three counts of securities fraud. Ever since then, Paxton and his assembly line of lawyers have done whatever they can to hijack the narrative and cloud the allegations. Now, the charges at the heart of the matter have almost become a sub-plot. On Tuesday, Team Paxton filed a motion accusing the special prosecutors of being paid too much.
Even more dust was kicked up Wednesday, when Paxton donor and uber-wealthy developer Jeffory Blackard sued Collin County officials over the same issue, arguing that lawyers Brian Wice, Kent Schaffer, Nicole Deborde's $300 hourly fees violate state law. Like Paxton, Blackard contends that state law caps pre-trial motions for appointed attorneys at $1,000 total. (Given the sheer volume of wacky motions Team Paxton has filed, that probably would have equaled about a shiny nickel an hour).
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Blackard owns a lot of property in Collin County — he's the mad scientist behind Adriatica, a McKinney community that replicates the scenic island village of Supetar, in Croatia — and he has previously vowed to sue over the prosecutors' fees. He names seven Collin County officials in the suit, including judges and county commissioners, and he argues that "allowing individual judges to value intriguing white collar prosecutions far more than the effective defense of capital cases is plainly contrary" to state law.
One of Paxton's lawyers, Dan Cogdell, told the Houston Chronicle that his peeps had nothing to do with Blackard's suit, saying "To be double dog clear, not only did we not have anything to do with the filing of it, we have nothing to with it whatsoever. Zero."
We have to admit, we had originally suspected collusion, but when Cogdell skipped "single-dog clear" and went straight to double, we were satisfied. Still, someone seems to be feeding Blackard or his attorneys some inside info, as the lawsuit mentions a phone call that was supposed to take place Wednesday between Judge George Gallagher and the prosecutors regarding the fees. (We left messages with two of Blackard's attorneys to find out more about this, but we haven't heard back yet).
We're still unclear how exactly the lawyers' fees affect Blackard, but we're sure Paxton welcomes any lack of clarity when it comes to the charges against him.