The court-appointed prosecutors in the Ken Paxton case have submitted their latest bill to Collin County taxpayers, bringing their total cost to almost $600,000.
The invoice of more than $200,000 is sure to kick off another firestorm in the county which has already paid the prosecutors $369,914.75 for their politically motivated prosecution of the Texas Attorney General.
Those payments appear to conflict with state law restricting court-appointed prosecutors to the “same account and manner” of compensation as indigent defense attorneys.
If the law had been followed, county taxpayers would be liable for only a couple thousand dollars rather than the current price tag which will likely exceed $1 million before the case is over.
While earlier bills were approved by the court at the urging of county judge Keith Self, commissioners have recently begun pushing back. In October, the Collin County Commissioners Court voted 5-0 to challenge payments in excess of the county rules.
That same month a federal judge dismissed a civil case against Paxton over same facts.
Kent Schaffer, one of the prosecutors set to benefit if Collin County fails to challenge the bills, was recently exposed as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a separate case.
The US Attorney for the Western District of Texas recently moved to disqualify Schaffer from representing a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang that is currently being prosecuted by the federal government. In its motion, the US attorney argued that Schaffer, who is representing the gang leader, is directly involved in the operations of the Bandidos.
The Bandidos motorcycle gang is a designated “Tier 2” gang according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the same category as the Crips, Bloods, and MS-13.
Taxpayers will be following the actions of Collin County Judge Keith Self, and Commissioners Susan Fletcher, Chris Hill, Ducan Webb, and Cheryl Williams. They have pledged 5-0 to challenge an order requiring the county to pay legal fees in excess of county rules. Now it is only a matter of seeing whether they will keep their word.