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The Brief: Paxton Keeps Up Fight Against Securities Fraud Charges

Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to fight the securities fraud charges against him, with his attorneys filing an appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a May 25, 2016, press conference.

The Big Conversation

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continues to fight the securities fraud charges against him, with his attorneys filing an appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday.

As the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reports, Paxton ’s legal team asked “the Austin-based court to do away with the three felony indictments facing the attorney general. The case, now more than a year old, centers on allegations that Paxton misled investors in private business dealings from before his time as attorney general.”

Paxton has pleaded not guilty. Bill Mateja, a lawyer representing Paxton, said in a statement that his client “has been charged with a crime that simply doesn't exist, using a grand jury that was improperly impaneled.”

It’s now up to the court to decide whether to hear the appeal. Svitek notes that, “in April, the Court of Criminal Appeals was a saving grace for another Texas Republican politician: former Gov. Rick Perry, whose abuse-of-power charges it dismissed after a legal saga that stretched on for more than a year and a half.”

Trib Must Reads

Independent Wins Race to Temporarily Fill McClendon Seat, by Patrick Svitek — Independent Laura Thompson has won the special election runoff to temporarily fill the seat of former state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio

Lawmakers Look at Tying School Funds to Performance, by Kiah Collier — Should Texas fund public schools based on their academic performance rather than just giving them a certain amount of money per student? State lawmakers are beginning to explore that idea.

Prison System Ponders $250 Million in Budget Cuts, by Johnathan Silver — With the 2017 state budget dance approaching, the Texas prison system is following instructions to cut four percent from its spending. Will that mean closing prisons and releasing more non-violent inmates?

Tiny Nordheim Sues State Over Drilling Waste Dump, by Jim Malewitz — A tiny South Texas town is continuing its fight against an oil and gas waste site half its size, even after regulators gave its developer the go-ahead. Residents of Nordheim, population 316, are suing the Texas Railroad Commission.

Analysis: Texas Voters Take Hit While Judges Ponder Election Laws, by Ross Ramsey — The evidence is piling up: If the law allows Texas and other states to discriminate, they will discriminate.

Paxton Says "Frivolous" Campus Carry Lawsuit Has No Merit, by Aneri Pattani — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday called a lawsuit brought by three University of Texas at Austin professors against the state’s campus carry law “frivolous” and said the professors have no valid reasons for opposing guns on campus.

Tim Kaine Heading to Texas for Hillary Clinton Fundraisers, by Patrick Svitek — Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is coming to Texas next week to raise money for Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House.

News From Home

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The Day Ahead

•    The Senate Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to hear testimony for a performance review of Texas public schools and study of the state’s two remaining county-based school systems.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Paxton staffer who raised red flags was fired, paid 'emergency leave' to keep quietThe Dallas Morning News

State balks at Corsicana plan to use facility for immigrants, Houston Chronicle

Dallas County GOP chairman steps down as party faces financial shortfall, The Dallas Morning News

Trump: Elections without voter ID laws are 'scary,' Politico

Advocates: City public housing stance could violate U.S. lawHouston Chronicle

City Council weighs how to ask Austin voters for $720 million, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

“It is a frivolous lawsuit, and I’m confident it will be dismissed because the Legislature passed a constitutionally-sound law.” 

— Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, responding to a lawsuit filed by three University of Texas at Austin professors challenging the state’s campus carry law

Today in TribTalk

The truth behind common vaccine misconceptions, by Vincent Iannelli — The use of pure anti-vaccine propaganda misinforms and scares parents into skipping vaccines and leaving their kids unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Life on the Border: Rhetoric or Reality? on Aug. 4 at The Centennial Club in McAllen

•   A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

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