Texas AG Ken Paxton’s securities fraud case headed to trial

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Texas AG Ken Paxton’s securities fraud case headed to trial

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When confronted with headlines about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton heading to trial to deal with allegations of wrongdoing, news consumers have little choice but to pause. After all, the scandal-plagued Republican is at the center of so many controversies that it’s difficult to know which of his messes is headed to court.

That said, The Texas Tribune reported on an oldie but a goodie from Paxton’s lengthy catalog that’s suddenly back in rotation.

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s long-delayed trial on securities fraud charges has been set for April 15. State District Judge Andrea Beall scheduled the trial during a hearing Monday morning in Houston. Paxton attended the hearing but did not speak at it.

Way back in 2011, before the Texas Republican was elected to statewide office, Paxton allegedly tried to solicit investors in a tech company without disclosing an important detail: Paxton was being paid to promote the company’s stock. This led to an investigation, and ultimately, an indictment.

And now, years later, a trial date. Paxton will face two counts of securities fraud and one count of failing to register with state securities regulators. Each charge is a felony. Paxton has pleaded not guilty.

As for why in the world it’s taken so long for the case to work its way into a courtroom, the Texas Tribune report added, “The trial has been delayed for years over a number of pretrial disputes, including the prosecutors’ pay and the venue.” Those disputes have now been resolved.

In terms of the broader context, these criminal allegations are distinct from the state bar investigation into Paxton’s ridiculous efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

What’s more, the Republican’s upcoming trial is also unrelated to the corruption allegations raised by leading top officials in Paxton’s office, which are currently the subject of an ongoing federal criminal investigation. The matter was also the subject of a state House investigation, which concluded that the state attorney general repeatedly broke the law by, among other things, abusing his office to hide an extramarital affair, doing special favors for a donor, and retaliating against perceived foes.

The scandal led to Paxton’s impeachment, though he was acquitted by his partisan allies in the state Senate.

The Tribune report added, “The trial is a reminder that Paxton’s legal problems persist even after the Texas Senate acquitted him last month in an impeachment trial on unrelated allegations.” Watch this space.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the editor of MaddowBlog and an MSNBC political contributor. He’s also the bestselling author of “The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics.”

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