Texas Attorney General Asks to Have Charges Thrown Out

Updated on
  • Grand jury may not have seen key evidence, Paxton says
  • Paxton says pre-election securities-related work wasn't crime

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked a state judge to throw out a securities-fraud indictment against him involving work done before his election.

Paxton, a first-term Republican, contends it wasn’t a crime for him to fail to register as a securities adviser for the services he provided. He also argues the grand jury may not have been given key evidence, according to copies of the filings provided by Paxton’s lawyers. The filings couldn’t be immediately confirmed in court records.

Paxton, 52, faces two felony counts of intentionally failing to tell people he would be compensated for soliciting their investments in Servergy Inc., a technology firm in which he hadn’t personally invested. He also faces a lesser charge of failing to register as a securities adviser representative.

State prosecutors “carelessly charged Paxton with a felony for failing to file a piece of paper and pay a fee, which is not a criminal offense in this state,” Philip Hilder, one of Paxton’s attorneys, said in a filing.

Paxton also claims the lead witness against him gave Texas Rangers statements that “contradicted earlier sworn testimony about Paxton receiving Servergy shares as compensation for referrals,” according to Paxton’s filings. He claims these statements may not have been provided to the grand jury.

Paxton was elected last November as part of a Republican sweep of statewide races after being reprimanded for steering clients to a friend’s investment firm. Paxton admitted to that violation -- which included failing to register as a securities agent -- in May 2014 and paid a $1,000 state administrative fine.

Paxton was indicted in August in Collin County, north of Dallas, one of the most politically conservative areas of Texas. If convicted at trial, Paxton faces from five years to 99 years in prison.

The cases are Texas v. Paxton, 416-81913-2015; 416-81914-2015; 416-81915-2015; 416th Judicial District of Collin County, Texas (McKinney).

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