NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas Attorney General Indicted, Protestors Call For Resignation

Update 2:33 p.m.: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's lawyer says Paxton will plead not guilty to felony securities fraud charges and request a jury trial.

Joe Kendall said in a statement Monday that the 52-year-old Paxton looks forward to the opportunity to defend himself against the state charges.

Kendall says Paxton intends to abide by instructions from state district Judge George Gallagher to make no further public statements about the case.

He says Paxton will continue serving as the state's top law enforcement officer while his case proceeds.

The Republican attorney general was booked earlier Monday on two counts of first-degree securities fraud and a lesser count of failing to register with state securities regulators. He was released on bond.

Prosecutors allege that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fraudulently told a state lawmaker he had personally invested in a tech startup before offering the lawmaker the chance to buy more than $100,000 in stock in the company.

An indictment unsealed Monday alleges that Republican state Rep. Byron Cook didn't know that Paxton was getting compensation from Servergy Inc. A Collin County grand jury heard evidence that Paxton had been given 100,000 shares of Servergy stock.

Servergy is the target of a federal securities investigation over allegedly deceiving investors. 

Update, 1:00 P.M.: Protesters who gathered near the Collin County jail where Attorney General Ken Paxton was booked on felony charges are calling for him to resign just months after he was sworn into office.

Texas Democratic Party officials joined with a few dozen other protesters on the steps of the Collin County Courthouse Monday. Some carried signs that read "Axe Paxton" and "Not above the law."

The Texas Republican Party has condemned the felony charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton as a "sloppy process" that doesn't befit the judicial system that Texans expect.

The party said in a statement Monday that it expects the 52-year-old Republican to fight the charges with the same zeal he has used to beat back what it describes as an overreaching federal government.

Party officials say Paxton deserves his day in court and shouldn't be judged in the court of public opinion, which it contends is presided over by liberal interest groups.

Read the full indictment: 

Ken Paxton Indictment

Original post: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been booked at a Dallas-area jail on felony charges alleging that he misled investors before becoming the state's top lawyer.

Paxton arrived at the Collin County jail Monday to be processed on two counts of first-degree securities fraud and a lesser count of failing to register with state securities regulators.

Last year, Paxton admitted soliciting clients for an investment company without being registered with the state securities board.

The 52-year-old Republican was fingerprinted and photographed before being released on bond.

Paxton joins former Gov. Rick Perry as the second high-ranking Texas official in the past year to be indicted while in office.

So far, state Republican leaders have been quiet about the matter.

Mike Rawlins, Chair of the Democratic Party of Collin County, released the following statement:

“Ken Paxton was elected to serve as the top law enforcement officer in the state. He is expected to be indicted. Mr. Paxton is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. But attorneys, and particularly the state’s chief attorney, are held to a higher standard – to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. A Grand Jury finding cause to indict him speaks poorly of his judgment and fitness for office. The people of Texas deserve better and we call upon him to resign. We commend the Grand Jury in carrying out their duty by indicting Paxton. He has been able to postpone his day in court because one party rule by the Republicans allows corruption to fester unchecked.”