The criminal court judge in the Attorney General Ken Paxton securities fraud case has ruled that his defense lawyers can get records related to the selection of the grand jury. The prosecutors say that no improprieties occurred in the grand jury selection and empanelment. Paxton is seeking evidence to see if the grand jury was stacked against him.
Paxton’s legal defense team sought subpoenas in early October seeking facts surrounding how the grand jury was selected. The information obtained could potentially be used to contest the selection of the grand jury that indicted him.
A statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from special prosecutors say they “welcome the release of information revealing that absolutely nothing improper occurred in the selection and empanelment of any of the four Collin County grand juries [Paxton] sought to challenge.”
The ruling by the judge came after a telephone conference between defense lawyers and the prosecution on Thursday, reported The Dallas Morning News. The ruling also allows the defense to get personnel records believed related to a clerk who emailed media the names of grand jurors in violation of a court order requiring the names to stay undisclosed. The judge also extended the deadline to October 30th for filing any motions to quash the indictments.
“This is a victory, pure and simple. Not only is it a victory for General Paxton, it is a victory for transparency in the grand jury process.” The Dallas Morning News also reported that Dallas defense attorney Bill Mateja added, “Despite the special prosecutors describing our request as desperate, the Court easily saw through that hyperbole.”
In their statement to Breitbart Texas, the special prosecutors said that now the issue of the release of this information has been ruled upon, “Perhaps now we can move on to the real issues in this case.”
The prosecutors stated that “Had Mr. Paxton’s defense team followed the rules regarding pre-trial discovery in criminal cases, we would not have been compelled to file our motion to quash his subpoenas.” They add, “But we congratulate Mr. Paxton’s defense team on their self-styled ‘victory for transparency in the grand jury process.’”
As reported by Breitbart Texas, Paxton was indicted in early August with two first degree counts of securities fraud, and with a third degree felony for failing to register as a securities adviser with the Texas State Securities Board. The indictments relate to actions and events in Collin County prior to the Attorney General taking office in January of 2015. Paxton entered a plea of not guilty in late August.
Tarrant County district court Judge George Gallagher was appointed to preside over the high-profile case.
In April, Breitbart Texas reported that Houston attorneys Kent Schaffer and Brian Wice were appointed to serve as Collin County Criminal District Attorneys Pro Tem (Latin for temporary) to “assist in the investigation and, if warranted, the prosecution of Ken Paxton for the securities law complaints currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers.” The Collin County District Attorney had recused himself because of his personal relationship with Paxton.
A third lawyer, Nicole DeBorde from Houston, was added to the prosecution team in August.
As reported by Breitbart Texas in August, the Attorney General has been charged with two first degree counts of securities fraud. The securities fraud counts come from Paxton’s association with a company called Servergy. The circumstances surrounding the third degree failure to register charge has been a public and political issue since the Republican primary race for Texas Attorney General in 2014. The issue was first raised by one of Paxton’s Republican primary opponents, Dan Branch.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and an associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2