Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is moving to end a lawsuit filed by so-called “whistleblowers” who accuse him of firing them unfairly.
In October 2020, eight of Paxton’s top aides accused him of bribery and abuse of office. After being terminated from employment, four of the employees filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton, where they alleged that Paxton did political favors for Nate Paul, a real estate developer and donor, by having his office intervene in Paul’s legal disputes.
This conflict was at the center of the failed impeachment attempt against Paxton last year, after his office attempted to reach a $3.3 million settlement that was rejected by the House.
Despite Paxton’s acquittal and the discrediting testimony provided by some of the whistleblowers in the trial, they have continued their lawsuit in what Paxton has characterized as “an unjustifiable waste of taxpayer resources and an intolerable distraction that risks compromising critical state business.”
On Thursday, Paxton instructed attorneys not to contest the case, in a process called “confessing judgment.”
“The OAG chose to settle this case last year, with the full participation of the plaintiffs and their attorneys. But the plaintiffs backed out of that settlement after I was fully acquitted. Instead of moving on with terms mutually agreeable to both sides, these rogue former employees disavowed their own settlement and escalated their crusade against me,” said Paxton. “It has become increasingly clear their objective is not to resolve an employment lawsuit but to sabotage my leadership and this agency, ultimately aiming to undermine Texas as the nation’s leader against the federal government’s unlawful policies.”
With Paxton conceding the lawsuit, any judgment awarded to the former employees would have to be funded by the Legislature, which could prove difficult to collect.
“By taking this action, the OAG has put an end to the plaintiffs’ long-running political stunt and re-committed the entirety of agency expertise and resources to our urgent legal initiatives, including our era-defining immigration lawsuits against the Biden Administration,” he added.
Tom Nesbitt, an attorney for the former employees, says the lawsuit is not over.
“”Ken Paxton has never answered questions about his illegal and corrupt conduct. He is clearly terrified of doing so – even if it means taking a different position now about him breaking the law than he did at his impeachment trial,” said Nesbitt.