Skip to main content

Attorney General Ken Paxton still pushing for new judge in criminal trial

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's lawyers are not giving up in their bid to get a new judge in his securities fraud case after the current judge ordered the case moved from Collin County, where Paxton lives, to Harris County.

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

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's lawyers are not giving up in their bid to get a new judge in his securities fraud case.

Earlier this month, Judge George Gallagher ordered Paxton's trial be moved to Harris County from Collin County, where Paxton lives, after prosecutors argued Paxton and his allies had tainted the jury pool there. 

Paxton's team wrote Friday to Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel requesting that he assign the case to a new judge. Paxton "has not and will not give" his permission for the current judge to follow the case to Harris County, Paxton's lawyers wrote to Daniel.

The letter, which was filed in court Monday, is the latest development in a standoff between Paxton's team and Gallagher, whose spokeswoman said last week he will remain on the case. The spokeswoman, Melody McDonald Lanier, also said Gallagher does not need to rule on a motion Paxton's lawyers made earlier this month that amounted to their initial request for a new judge. 

In the letter to Daniel, Paxton's lawyers continued to cite a part of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure that says a judge ordering a change of venue may only continue to preside over the case with the consent of both sides. Gallagher, who is from Tarrant County, has been presiding over the case since its early days in 2015. 

Daniel's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Paxton is set to go to trial on Sept. 12 in Harris County on the lesser of three securities fraud charges he faces.

Paxton is accused of misleading investors in a company from before his time as attorney general. Paxton, who has pleaded not guilty, could face up to 99 years in prison if convicted.  

Quality journalism doesn't come free

Yes, I'll donate today