Two special prosecutors appointed to look into whether Ken Paxton violated Texas securities laws or other laws have announced they will present evidence to a Collin County, Texas, grand jury soon.
The acts alleged to have been committed took place prior to Paxton becoming attorney general.
Texas State House Representative Dan Branch raised the issue during the Republican primary race for Texas attorney general.
Later, a left-of-center “watchdog” group associated with requests for investigations and indictments against then-Governor Rick Perry, and U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay, asked the Travis County district attorney’s office to investigate then-Republican Party AG nominee Paxton.
The executive director of Texans for Public Justice sent a letter to the Travis County DA asking for an investigation three months before the November 2014 elections. The Austin-based nonprofit is funded by the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) and a foundation whose top political recipient was reported to be the Ready for Hillary PAC.
In May of 2014, the Texas State Securities Board fined then-Texas Senator Paxton $1,000.
The order issued from the board “reprimanded” Paxton for acting as an investment adviser representative for one company (Mowery Capital Management, LLC, MCM) when that company was registered as an adviser with the State Securities Board.
The board closed the matter without referring it to the Texas attorney general’s office for criminal prosecution, something within the power of the Board to do.
No one in Texas has ever been prosecuted solely for soliciting clients for an investment adviser while being unregistered.
After the letter was sent to the Travis County DA, the Travis County and Dallas district attorney’s offices decided they did not have jurisdiction over the matter. Paxton lived and worked in Collin County at the time of any of the alleged acts in question.
When pressure was placed on the Collin County DA to prosecute, DA Greg Willis responded that it would be more appropriate for the Texas Rangers and other investigative authorities to investigate. Willis cited his friendship with Paxton when taking himself out of the investigation. Paxton has been a business partner and friend of the Collin County DA.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, Collin County Judge Scott Becker responded by appointing two special prosecutors from Houston to preside over an investigation.
The crimes being investigated are first-degree felonies.
Kent A. Schaffer, one of the special prosecutors appointed to preside over the investigation, told Breitbart Texas, “We have been investigating certain allegations for the last two months and we are now getting to the stage where our investigation is complete. The next stage is to present what we have found to a grand jury and it will be their duty to decide whether anything occurred which would warrant an indictment or a no-bill.”
The other special prosecutor, Brian Wice, released a statement, saying, “Our mandate as special prosecutors in this matter is to investigate any and all violations of the Texas Securities Act that may or may not have been committed by Mr. Paxton.”
Wice continued, “With the assistance of the Texas Rangers, whose investigative efforts in this matter have been invaluable, we fully intend to follow the evidence the Rangers have brought us wherever it leads us. At the end of the day, it will be up to the grand jurors to determine whether or not probable cause exists to hand up indictments in this matter.”
Kent Schaffer told Breitbart Texas that the cases could go to the grand jury late July or early August.
Anthony Holm, a spokesman for Ken Paxton in his individual, not official capacity as Attorney General, issued a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas and other media outlets.
Holm called the allegations against the Attorney General a “political hit job.”
Holm also attacked the credibility of the two special prosecutors saying, “Not only do they appear inexperienced as prosecutors, they are from Houston.” Holm continued, “Meanwhile thousands of experienced prosecutors and former prosecutors are in the Dallas area.”
Holm also charged, “From the outset their intention appears to have been to try this case in the media, not the courtroom. Texans deserve better, we deserve cases tried in courthouses, not the press.”
In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, the special prosecutors hit back saying, “We were brought in from Houston to ensure that an investigation that could have easily been driven by partisan politics and political agendas would not. While Mr. Paxton would seem to prefer that this investigation be conducted by experienced prosecutors from North Texas, no one who is the subject of a grand jury investigation, least of all one of the top public officials in Texas, gets to make that call.”
The special prosecutors continued, “Tellingly, Mr. Paxton feels that a Dallas address or a career spent as a prosecutor somehow trumps our over seven decades of trial and appellate experience as two of Texas’s most respected criminal lawyers.”
Brian Wice successfully represented former House Majority Leader Tom Delay on appeal. As reported by Breitbart Texas, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals exonerated Delay, Wice called “the prosecutors from the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County DA’s Office – bullies in blue suits.”
The other special prosecutor, Kent Schaffer, has over 30 years of criminal law practice and has represented noted and political, business, and entertainment figures in criminal and civil matters. He started his career as an investigator working for the legendary criminal defense lawyer, Richard “Racehorse” Haynes.
When he was appointed as special prosecutor over the Paxton case in April, Schaffer told the Houston Chronicle, “He’ll be given all the rights and safeguards that anybody that’s under investigation should have.” “And if he should be cleared, he’s going to be cleared.” He continued, “And if he should be prosecuted, he’s going to be prosecuted, irrespective of his office.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and an associate court judge. Follow her on Twitter@LanaShadwick2