Three months after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted for felony securities fraud, he is in the news again — this time, trying to drop those very same felony charges.
Late on Monday night, Paxton’s legal team filed a flurry of paperwork in a late attempt to get the charges against him quashed. Paxton’s motions allege that prosecutors and the grand jury committed misconduct that makes the indictments illegal.
Paxton’s main allegation was that District Judge Christopher Oldner, who presided over the case, improperly revealed the indictment to his wife, who then revealed the indictment to the media. Oldner since recused himself from the case soon after the indictment was made public. Paxton also made several procedural allegations that he hopes will get the indictments thrown out.
Paxton is even trying to use the fact that he didn’t receive special treatment as a reason to get the charges against him thrown out. Instead of allowing Paxton to appear by summons, warrants were issued for Paxton’s arrest. According to Paxton’s lawyers, “it is reasonable to deduce that this was a vindictive action meant to publicly embarrass and humiliate” him. According to Paxton, the fact that he was publicly embarrassed by his felony indictments is reason enough to have those indictments thrown out.
Brian Wice, a prosecutor on the case, responded to Paxton’s filings by saying they were “‘so clearly baseless that they didn’t merit a comment,” which sounds about right.
It is important to note that none of Paxton’s filings argue that the indictments against him are wrong — that he didn’t commit the felonies he’s accused of committing. Instead, they were 190 pages of technicalities. Paxton’s not contesting the fact that he committed securities fraud. He’s simply throwing every technical loophole he can at the court and hoping one sticks, so that he doesn’t have to be held accountable for his illegal actions.
This isn’t the first time that Paxton has argued that the law shouldn’t apply to him. As attorney general, he’s tried plenty of times to let Texas get away with not following federal laws. Just last month, he sued the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act, because he’d rather waste state resources arguing that federal laws shouldn’t apply to Texas than just follow the law in the first place. And after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June, Paxton very publicly tried to get Texas out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
It seems like Ken Paxton thinks the law is just an obstacle he needs to get around to get his own way. He has such blatant disregard for the law that he committed felony securities fraud, so it’s unsurprising that he thinks that state policies should similarly disregard the laws of this country. Instead of facing accountability for his mistakes like an adult, he’s throwing a tantrum and complaining about how unfair it is that someone wants him to answer for breaking the law — laws that he voted for as a legislator, and swore to protect as attorney general.
Ken Paxton has already admitted that he broke state securities law. He did so once again this week, by failing to question the content of the indictments against him. It remains to be seen what will be done about any of Ken Paxton’s desperate filings, but we may soon see our state’s chief lawyer become a convicted felon.