The special prosecutors pursuing the financial securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton delivered a scathing response Thursday to the McKinney Republican's latest efforts to dismiss the three felony charges against him.
In a 19-page court filing peppered with disdain — one footnote likens Paxton's defense to an exchange from the 1978 film Animal House — the prosecutors called the attorney general's legal arguments this week that the judge overseeing his case abused his discretion a "pre-trial shell game" based on a "quicksand-like foundation."
"Paxton’s motion is a tale of sound and fury calculated to cast himself as a victim, and not a criminal defendant, in the court of public opinion," they write. "That Paxton’s motion is not only desperate, but utterly without merit is predictable; that it recklessly and unnecessarily tars both a respected jurist and his spouse without a legal or factual basis to do so is unconscionable."
A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton in July based on claims he misled investors in a technology company before he was attorney general. Paxton has pleaded not guilty.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.
On Monday evening, Paxton's legal team filed six motions to quash the indictments against him, arguing that Judge Chris Oldner acted improperly throughout the grand jury process, including by telling his wife about the indictments.
Asking the court to reject what they at one point refer to as a "Grassy Knoll-like conspiracy ... far more appropriate as a plot point in an Oliver Stone motion picture," prosecutors Brian Wice, Kent Schaffer and Nicole DeBorde noted that the three charges against Paxton are the result of a "comprehensive investigation spearheaded by the Texas Rangers."
His legal arguments, they write, are based on "a stunning lack of any controlling legal authority to support his unsupported and unsupportable claims ... [he] wants this Court to quash these indictments based on the cumulation of non-errors, in the face of long-standing authority to the contrary."
Paxton has previously raised the prospect that the grand jury was "empaneled in a matter inconsistent with law." His lawyers recently won access to information related to the makeup of the panel.