Testimony in the Senate’s impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton has revealed that a Bush-connected lawyer has not billed whistleblowers for his representation.
Many of the impeachment charges were spurred by a group of employees of the Office of the Attorney General that reported Ken Paxton to the FBI in 2020 due to what they said was illegal and unethical abuse of office.
On Friday, cross-examination continued of Ryan Vassar, former deputy assistant attorney general for legal counsel and one of those whistleblowers.
Mitch Little, one of Paxton’s lawyers, asked Vassar about his legal representation by Johnny Sutton.
Sutton has strong ties to the Bush family. He was an advisor to George W. Bush when he served as Texas governor, and Sutton was later appointed to be a U.S. attorney when Bush was in the White House.
“Is he representing all of you at this point?” Little asked Vassar.
“Yes, sir,” Vassar replied.
“Who’s paying for all that, by the way?” asked Little.
That’s when it was revealed that Sutton had not billed for his representation.
“He’s agreed to bill us at a future date,” said Vassar.
“You’re telling me that an attorney, and a very experienced prominent criminal defense attorney, decided to do this for free for you for three years? Is that right?” Little fired back.
Vassar claimed that he would pay him when he had the money, despite the fact that he did not know how much he was being billed for.
“Have you ever heard the expression, there are no coincidences in Austin?” Little asked, repeating a now familiar refrain from the defense. Vassar said he had not.
The same question was asked earlier in the week after it was revealed that, at the same time whistleblowers went to the FBI, George P. Bush reactivated his law license. Bush went on to unsuccessfully challenge Paxton in the Republican primary in 2022.
It was also asked during the cross-examination of another former employee Ryan Bangert when computer records showed he had searched for Sutton’s law firm over a week before going to the FBI.
Bangert maintained that it was a coincidence.
It was not the only shocking revelation to come from Vassar’s testimony. On Thursday evening, Vassar admitted that he reported Paxton to the FBI without any evidence.
As of publishing, Sutton has not responded to a request for comment.