Texas attorney general pleads not guilty to securities fraud as his lawyer …

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney General Ken Paxton seeks new attorney on securities fraud charges.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, Angela, arrived Thursday at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth for his initial court appearance on three felony securities fraud charges. (David Woo/Staff Photographer) State District Judge George Gallagher granted a motion by defense attorney Joe Kendall to withdraw from the case.Calls for the resignation of Paxton, basically the state’s chief civil attorney, are premature before he faces trial in Collin County in connection with two felony fraud charges over a 2011 stock deal and also over a 2012 securities law violation.

Kendall said in his motion that differences arose that “make continued representation untenable.” Paxton, 52, had entered a not guilty plea through a document filed Monday and waived arraignment. Texas’ top law enforcement officer, who says he will not resign from the office he assumed in January, didn’t comment as he left the Fort Worth courthouse with his wife after the hearing. Kendall didn’t go into detail about why he was leaving the case, telling the judge only that there were “issues” that would complicate his continued involvement.

Paxton is charged with two counts of securities fraud over allegations that he deceived investors in a tech startup that compensated him for reeling in new shareholders. The alleged deception happened in 2011, when Paxton was a state legislator, and a fellow Republican legislator is among those he is accused of deceiving. In a motion filed with the court, Kendall wrote that recent differences had “adversely” impacted his relationship with Paxton and made any continued work “untenable.” Paxton said he intends to have a new attorney by next week. Judge Gallagher, who had been appointed to hear this case being held in Paxton’s home county, responded firmly that he would decide how his court functions, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Paxton’s Republican supporters and Texas Democrats sharply disagree over the use of cameras in the courtroom. “I understand, from the media’s point of view, that of course they would want to have cameras,” said Paxton supporter Cathie Adams. “But the U.S. Two special prosecutors appointed to the case did not object, but one noted that Paxton has now gone through three attorneys in three months and that he was wary of possible stall tactics.

The Arlington Republican called the charges against Paxton strictly political, saying there would be no criminal case had Paxton not been elected attorney general. Paxton seldom spoke in court, but he had Kendall tell the judge he would fight any effort to move the case out of Collin County, where he is from, and ask that no cameras be allowed at future proceedings.

Gallagher, who allowed a TV station to broadcast Thursday’s hearing live, reminded Paxton that he, the judge, would decide whether to allow cameras. Critics said this amounted to special treatment. “He continues to operate that Ken Paxton has rules for himself, but everyone else has to operate under a different set of rules,” Texas Democratic Party Director Manny Garcia said.

Prior to Paxton’s appearance in court on Thursday, Breitbart Texas obtained a statement from the attorney general’s public relations firm. “I am innocent of these charges,” Paxton stated. “It is a travesty that some would attempt to hijack our system of justice to achieve political ends they could not accomplish at the ballot box. Greg Abbott and other top Texas Republicans haven’t publicly rallied behind Paxton, though one GOP state lawmaker was in court to watch the proceedings. He will also be submitting an additional 7,000-8,000 pages of printed documents that have not yet been scanned when they are finished with the scanning process (approximately 2-3 weeks). He also warned all of the attorneys involved in the case to follow the rules of professional conduct. “I will not tolerate any violations of the rules,” he said.

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