After nearly a decade, a deal has finally been reached to dismiss state securities fraud charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton that have amounted to what some have called a political prosecution. 

The charges stem back to 2015, shortly after Paxton took office as attorney general, when he was indicted in Collin County for allegedly failing to disclose his financial interest in a firm to potential investors. The Collin County indictment came after several counties declined to do so.

In the following nine years, the case has moved venues multiple times and been delayed repeatedly as the prosecutors sought to increase their own pay. 

In a Houston court on Tuesday, Paxton and the prosecutors announced they had reached a deal to dismiss the charges and cancel the trial, which was slated to begin in three weeks.

According to the terms of the pretrial diversion agreement, Paxton must pay around $300,000 in restitution, along with 100 hours of community service and 15 hours of legal ethics courses.

Dan Cogdell, an attorney representing Paxton, said the state approached them with the deal and it does not amount to an admission of guilt.

“The agreement allows him to get back to representing the citizens of the State of Texas. But let me be clear, at no time was he going to enter any plea bargain agreement or admit to conduct that simply did not occur. There is no admission of any wrongdoing on Ken’s part in the agreement because there was no wrongdoing on his part,” said Cogdell.

Brian Wice, a prosecutor in the case, said he believed justice was not denied in the case.

“The oath that I took is the oath that every prosecutor in Texas takes, which is that my primary duty is to seek justice and not to convict.”

Paxton, meanwhile, said he was grateful for his legal team and eager to have it behind him.

“For over a decade, my family and I have been dealing with the ongoing stress of these accusations, and are relieved to finally have a resolution in this matter,” said Paxton. “The prosecution came to us to begin negotiations and we were able to come to an agreement on terms. There will never be a conviction in this case nor am I guilty.”

“I look forward to putting this behind me. I want to thank my family, team, and supporters for sticking by my side. Dealing with a 10-year case looming over our heads was no easy task. I am glad to move on and will provide further comment in the weeks ahead,” he added.

The deal marks the end of a long saga that culminated in the Texas House’s impeachment of Paxton last year, in part due to accusations of “obstruction” in the case. Even after the Senate acquitted Paxton on impeachment charges, some House members—including Speaker Dade Phelan—predicted Paxton would be imprisoned due to the state charges.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the dismissal of the charges highlighted the fact that the case lacked any real evidence, comparing it to the House’s impeachment.

“This bears a striking similarity to the impeachment debacle where Ken Paxton’s political enemies in the House fabricated a case that collapsed during trial in the Senate,” Patrick wrote in a social media post shortly after the announcement.

“The political hit squad in the Texas House failed again in their persecution of Ken Paxton. The failed impeachment instigated by Dade Phelan backfired,” Patrick added. “It seems that Dade wound up impeaching himself and several of his top House lieutenants and the voters in his own district have found him guilty.”

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens