Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared in a Houston court on Thursday to answer for fraud charges that have been pending for years. Paxton is also facing an impeachment trial next month.
The Dallas Morning News noted that there were no significant decisions made during the meeting, other than Judge Andrea Beall setting the next hearing date for October 6. Both sides have agreed to wait for the verdict on Paxton’s upcoming impeachment trial before moving forward with trial dates for the fraud case.
The outcome of the impeachment trial would have an effect on the fraud case and the FBI’s investigation into other alleged corrupt acts carried out by Paxton. Paxton is facing an impeachment trial over allegations of bribery and abuse of public trust.
“It’s too early to tell. But logically, if he’s impeached in the Senate, he would have greater motivation to resolve this case because his political career, one would think, would be dead,” Dan Cogdell said, the lawyer defending Paxton in both the impeachment trial and fraud case.
Paxton’s recent court appearance was the first one in years. The fraud case dates back to 2015, when a Collin County grand jury indicted him on several felony charges for reportedly defrauding investors in a McKinney technology company, as well as failing to register with state securities regulators.
Special prosecutor Brian Wice said if “the feds indict him, on some level we may become footnotes,” adding that the federal charge would “take center stage, and that could ultimately relegate this to a second act.”
Special prosecutor Kent Schaffer said a federal case could be worse for Paxton since it happened more recently. “It deals with abuse of office,” he said of the FBI’s investigation. “Our office originated before Paxton was even attorney general.”
However, Paxton has denied any wrongdoing, reducing his legal troubles to partisan attacks. He has requested that his articles of impeachment be tossed out.
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