A federal judge Friday tossed out a Securities and Exchange Commission case that had been brought against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. This is the latest evidence that criminal indictments against Paxton stemming from the same allegations are a bogus political attack.

The SEC had filed suit seeking civil penalties against Paxton for allegedly failing to inform investors in Servergy, Inc. that he was receiving shares of stock in return for encouraging people to invest in the company.

But U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III, dismissed the case against Paxton today, concluding that Paxton had no legal obligation to disclose the compensation. At a hearing last month, Mazzant told SEC investigators that he thought they were trying to place “a very large square peg into a round hole.”

The SEC’s allegations mirror those included in felony indictments that were procured against Paxton in Collin County by disgraced District Judge Chris Oldner.

Oldner worked with two Houston-based special prosecutors to procure first-degree felony indictments against Paxton. The indictments are based on allegations made by State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana), a close ally of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and one of Paxton’s political opponents.

Oldner is facing an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct related to his misbehavior in the case.

Under civil procedure, there are a variety of ways a litigant can get bogus case against them thrown out of court. In the criminal context, however, it can be exceedingly difficult to get an early dismissal and appellate courts typically wait until after a person is convicted before they will examine the validity of an indictment.

Paxton has sought to have the indictments against him quashed before he is forced to take his case to trial. But, so far, the courts have not agreed to dismiss the charges. He is currently appealing his case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

But the early failure of the SEC’s civil case against Paxton is strong evidence of how his criminal case will ultimately turn out.

In the civil case, the SEC was only required to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. The SEC’s failure to meet that burden strongly suggests that the special prosecutors who are pursuing criminal charges against Paxton will not be able to meet the much tougher beyond a reasonable doubt standard required in criminal cases.

The absurdity of the charges against Paxton were readily apparent when the indictments against him were released. The indictments simply do not describe behavior that is criminal in nature, much less behavior justifying up to 99 years in prison, the maximum punishment for the charges.

Misbehavior by the special prosecutors and judges involved in prosecuting Paxton has been rampant. It is time that Collin County stops footing the bill for these spurious political attacks.

And it is time that Texans start looking hard at who hijacked the Texas criminal justice system in order to use it 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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