*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
A state appeals court has intervened in the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, putting it on hold as his lawyers try to get a new judge.
Hours after Paxton's team requested that the Dallas-based 5th Court of Appeals get involved, the court on Tuesday issued a stay of all proceedings in the case until further notice. The court gave all sides until May 23 to respond to Paxton's effort to ditch the judge, George Gallagher.
The order by the 5th Court of Appeals means there will no longer be a hearing Thursday in Houston on a prior attempt by Paxton to install a new judge.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.
Paxton's lawyers have been trying to get Gallagher off the case since he switched the venue to Harris County from Collin County, where prosecutors had argued Paxton and his allies had tainted the jury pool. Paxton's lawyers have primarily argued that Gallagher needs their written permission to follow the case to Harris County, which they will not provide. But they have also said he should not have even been presiding over the case in 2017 because his assignment expired last year.
Throughout the process, Gallagher has shown no interest in walking away from the case. He has said through a spokeswoman that he plans to continue presiding over it.
In their filing with the 5th Court of Appeals on Tuesday morning, Paxton's lawyers argued that once Gallagher changed the venue, "he was statutorily prohibited from entering further orders or continuing to preside over the case without the statutorily required written consent of" Paxton and his team.
In a subsequent letter to the appeals court, prosecutor Brian Wice argued the court did not have the jurisdiction to consider Paxton's request to remove Gallagher. The court has also set a May 23 deadline for Paxton's lawyers to respond to Wice's letter.
For close to two years now, Paxton has been fighting charges that he misled investors in a company from before his time as attorney general. If convicted, he could face up to 99 years in prison.
Paxton is currently set to go to trial in September in Harris County on the lesser of the three charges he faces.