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Ken Paxton Asks State Appeals Court To Intervene In Judge Dispute

Marjorie Kamys Cotera
The Texas Tribune
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are trying to get a state appeals court to intervene in their long-running effort to replace the judge in his securities fraud case. 

Paxton's lawyers on Monday asked the Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals to remove Judge George Gallagher from the case and void rulings he has made since changing the venue for the case earlier this year. The request comes three days before a hearing in Houston on the issue -- a hearing that would be called off if the request is granted. 

Paxton's lawyers have been trying to get Gallagher off the case since he switched the venue to Harris County from Collin County, where prosecutors had argued Paxton and his allies had tainted the jury pool. Paxton's lawyers have primarily argued that Gallagher needs their written permission to follow the case to Harris County, which they will not provide. But they have also said he should not have even been presiding over the case in 2017 because his assignment expired last year. 

Throughout the process, Gallagher has shown no interest in walking away from the case. He has said through a spokeswoman that he plans to continue presiding over it. 

In their filing with the 5th Court of Appeals, Paxton's lawyers argue that once Gallagher changed the venue, "he was statutorily prohibited from entering further orders or continuing to preside over the case without the statutorily required written consent of" Paxton and his team. 

For close to two years now, Paxton has been fighting charges that he mislead investors in a company from before his time as attorney general. If convicted, he could face up to 99 years in prison. 

Paxton is currently set to go to trial in September in Harris County on the lesser of three charges he faces.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.