In a stinging response to a motion to delay his trial, Ken Paxton’s legal team have laid bare the hypocrisy of the special prosecutors on his case.

Late Monday the Paxton defense team filed a response opposing a motion for continuance that was filed by the special prosecutors on Thursday. After already being paid over a quarter million dollars on the case, prosecutors Kent Schaffer, Brian Wice, and Nicole DeBorde are now asking the court to delay Paxton’s trial until they are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Paxton’s defense team’s response was indignant:

“[D]espite being paid thus far the equivalent of the sum of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage (Mr. Schaffer), a Mercedes GT (Mr. Wice), and a BMW 328i (Ms. DeBorde), they claim that they cannot possibly ‘pursue justice’ without the benefit of an additional fortune. Seriously?”

These sums are in contrast with the yearly salary for Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, which is $140,000. He’s paid that amount to run an entire office of attorneys, not just to work a single case.

Indeed, the response points out the prosecutors’ hypocrisy when compared to cases in Harris County to which they have been appointed. Kent Schaffer and Nicole DeBorde were appointed as special prosecutors in State v. Anthony Chiofalo and only submitted their bills after the case concluded.

Likewise, in 2014, Brian Wice was appointed as a special prosecutor in State v. Dustin Deutsch. That case has also concluded, yet Wice still has not submitted his fee bills.

However, according to the trio, an appellate court order delaying payments to them now justifies delaying Paxton’s day in court.

In reality, as their case is crumbling before their eyes, the prosecutors are delaying for political reasons, namely to protect their lead witness, State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana).

Cook is now facing his own fraud case in Collin County brought against him by a business partner. If Paxton’s case goes to trial in May, Cook may be taken out of the legislature and placed on the witness stand for days during the busiest part of the legislative session. Moreover, he may even be forced to plead the Fifth in order to protect himself in his own trial.

That would certainly spell the end of the prosecutors’ chances at a conviction against Paxton … as well as the end of Cook’s political career.

The Texas courts need to end the travesty that is the Paxton criminal prosecution. Private practice criminal attorneys should not be allowed to treat the criminal justice system as a money-making scheme or as a political weapon.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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