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The Brief: Is the Collin County jury pool tainted in favor of Ken Paxton?

Prosecutors at a pretrial hearing for the securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are expected to argue for a change of venue.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during a news conference on Jan. 12, 2017.

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What you need to know

A pretrial hearing for the securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is happening later this morning inside a Collin County courthouse, serving as the latest event in the Texas official's legal saga. Here's what you need to know: 

  • Why is Paxton involved in a case? In August 2015, a Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on three felony charges, alleging he had misled company investors before becoming attorney general. Paxton has denied any wrongdoing. In April 2016, Paxton was charged in federal court with similar allegations, but a federal judge dismissed the civil case against him earlier this month. 
  • The special prosecutors are expected to ask for a change of venue. In February, they wrote in a filing: "Over the course of almost the last two years ... Paxton's posse of spokesmen, supporters, and surrogates — a clique herein collectively referred to as "Team Paxton" — has embarked on a crusade clearly calculated to taint the Collin County jury pool."  
  • Special prosecutors have also asked to delay Paxton's trial date until they could get paid. Prosecutors proposed moving the trial from May 1 to 60 days after a Dallas appeals court settled a payment dispute after the 5th Court of Appeals temporarily ruled Collin County couldn't pay outside prosecutors assigned to the case. 

  • For updates today, follow Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek. Reporters aren't typically allowed to tweet during court proceedings, but stay tuned for updates after.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Felony charges for 2 who secretly filmed Planned Parenthood, AP 

McAllen denies drilling permit, The Monitor 

Candidate for WISD school board carried out of Capitol by DPS troopers, lawsuit planned, Waxahachie Daily Light 

Texas AG sues San Antonio store owner to stop synthetic pot salesSan Antonio Express-News ($)

Vapors shop owners and go head-to-head during hearing to raise smoking age to 21, Dallas Morning News ($) 

Travis County to support suit against Trump's 'sanctuary cities' order, Austin American-Statesman ($)

For your calendar 

Next Tuesday, April 4, The Texas Tribune will talk about legislative issues with experienced community organizers at the W Austin Records Room. The event is part of the Tribune's On the Record series, geared towards helping Texans be better, smarter citizens. 

Photo of the day

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, celebrates after the Texas Senate unanimously passes Senate Bill 1, the budget bill, March 28. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"My research on Texas capital jurors suggests that this legal misdirection leaves many with a heavy burden they carry with them after making a life or death decision. Shouldn't jurors who are forced to make a potentially life-ending choice be told the truth about their decision-making?"

— Robin Conley Riner, associate professor at Marshall University, about capitol jurors in Texas via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email thebrief@texastribune.org. We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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