Judge Denies Paxton's Motions to Dismiss Charges

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, looks at one of the special prosecutors during a pre-trial hearing at the Collin County Courthouse on Dec. 1, 2015. Paxton faces felony charges related to claims that he misled investors in business dealings before he took office as attorney general.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, looks at one of the special prosecutors during a pre-trial hearing at the Collin County Courthouse on Dec. 1, 2015. Paxton faces felony charges related to claims that he misled investors in business dealings before he took office as attorney general.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

A Collin County judge has denied Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's requests to dismiss criminal charges accusing him of financial fraud.

Paxton’s attorneys had filed six motions arguing on various grounds why state District Judge George Gallagher should dismiss three indictments handed down by a grand jury earlier this year. Paxton pleaded not guilty to the charges of misleading investors in a technology company before he was elected attorney general.

Gallagher threw out all of those requests on Friday, meaning Paxton's prosecution will continue.

Bill Mateja, a member of Paxton's defense team, expressed disappointment with the rulings in a statement.

 

"We believed each of the motions was well founded," Mateja's statement read. "We are currently reviewing whether to appeal the Court’s denial of our applications for writ of habeas corpus and will make that decision in the near future."

Brian Wice, one of the special prosecutors handling the Paxton case, declined to comment on the rulings, saying they “speak for themselves."

Paxton’s attorneys asked to quash the indictments in part because they claimed Collin County Judge Chris Oldner — who has recused himself from the case — acted improperly throughout the grand jury process, including by telling his wife about the indictments.

Special prosecutors replied to the defense motions with a 19-page court filing that made reference to the film "Animal House" and included the sentence, "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."

Gallagher, who heard arguments on the motions on Dec. 1, did not expand on his reasoning. He also issued two lesser rulings in favor of Paxton, including one that ordered transcription of all witness testimony before the grand jury.

Paxton is accused of soliciting buyers for more than $100,000 worth of stock in Servergy, a McKinney technology company, without disclosing that the company was compensating him.

Paxton also didn’t make clear that he hadn’t personally invested in the company, the indictments allege. He received 100,000 shares, but that was in the form of compensation, according to the indictment.

One of the alleged victims in the case is listed as state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana. The other is identified as Joel Hochberg.

 

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