Texas AG Ken Paxton’s legal victory raises major questions about nine-year-long case: ‘Pain has always been the point’

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (Republican) ultimately plans not to take the case to trial.

In 2015, a grand jury indicted Paxton on three felonies: two counts of securities fraud and one count of failure to register with state securities regulators. Prosecutors alleged that Paxton solicited two acquaintances to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in a technology startup without disclosing whether they would be compensated for the transaction. .

Years of proceedings and pre-trial jockeying delayed the case, but the trial was finally scheduled to begin on April 15.

Then, last Tuesday, the case came to an abrupt end when prosecutors agreed to drop the charges in a deferred prosecution agreement. Meanwhile, if Paxton were convicted, he could have received decades in prison, but it was actually 99 years. According to the American Statesman in Austin — He will now perform 100 hours of community service, pay restitution and continue taking legal education classes.

This agreement raises an obvious question: Why is there such an extreme difference between the potential outcome of a lawsuit and the outcome of a lawsuit? actual results?

In retrospect, this result was predictable.

In 2016, the Security and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Paxton in connection with the same incident.but Twice a federal judge dismissed the SEC’s complaint.

“Mr. Paxton had no legitimate legal obligation to disclose his compensation arrangements with investors.” control 2017 U.S. District Judge Amos Mazant.

The verdict was a harbinger of things to come and, at best, a sign that the criminal case against Paxton was weak.

“According to that legal principle, there is no way that the same facts could support a criminal prosecution,” Mitch Little, one of Paxton’s attorneys, told Blaze News.

“If you’re a prosecutor and you’ve read a federal judge’s opinion, it’s like having your legs chopped off,” Little explained. “If you were a prosecutor and you saw that order, you would say, ‘It’s over.'”

Seven years later, special prosecutors Brian Weiss and Jed Silverman are preparing for trial. Initially, they planned to focus their case on a third-degree felony charge of failure to register with state securities regulators, the Houston Chronicle reported. report.

But they ran into a big problem.

On March 2, prosecutors reexamined a key witness, Frederick Mowry, a former friend and business associate of Paxton’s. In that interview, they learned that Mowry intended to take responsibility for not registering Paxton as a securities advisor. To make matters worse, Mr. Mowry had already given similar testimony before the Texas Securities Commission. 10 years agoPaxton paid a $1,000 civil penalty Regarding the 2014 violation.

Silverman, According to the Houston Chroniclesaid the interview with Mr Mowry extracted “a level of detail that would make it quite difficult for the jury to believe” that Mr Paxton had broken the law.

It was yet another sign of defeat. But after an eye-opening interrogation, prosecutors changed the focus of the case. They now plan to solve the case, centering on an alleged security fraud.

But they encountered another problem. One of the alleged victims was dead, and the other was not willing to testify against Paxton. What’s more, prosecutors now claim, the victims simply wanted to become financially healthy.

Additionally, when prosecutors re-examined other witnesses, they found that most of them were hostile to their case, meaning they would have testified in a way that would have helped Paxton’s defense.

The law was also in Paxton’s corner. Special Counsel Kent Schaefer, who withdrew from the case last month. He told the Houston Chronicle. Texas law is not “very clear” about what a person soliciting investments must disclose to potential investors. And in any case, he said Paxton has never been accused of outright lying. Rather, he was accused of lying by omission.

Realizing there was no winnable case, prosecutors finally decided to make a deal.

Publicly, the prosecutors handling the case framed the pretrial diversion agreement as a victory. In fact, Schaefer said this implied Paxton was guilty.

The Houston Chronicle said, “This sends a signal to those who are paying attention that this man clearly did what he is accused of doing or there would be no deal.” said the Houston Chronicle. report.

But Little told Blaze News the conclusion was “absolute nonsense.”

”[That comment] This suggests just how much socio-political pressure Kent and Brian are under in agreeing to pretrial diversion, but ultimately they do not have what it takes to try this case. Because we didn’t have it, we had to agree to it,” Little said.

”[Schaffer] They are simply trying to form a public narrative that is not supported by the evidentiary record,” he explained.

Importantly, Little said, prosecutors didn’t always have enough evidence to indict Paxton, much less win at trial.

And despite prosecutors’ attempts to explain why the case ended the way it did, Weiss, for example, said: called It was a “perfect storm of everything that could derail and delay the prosecution” — “None of this is surprising,” Little explained.

If this was true from the beginning, the question arises why the case was dragged on.

In response to that question, Little told Blaze News it was because “this prosecution had political value while it was pending” for Paxton’s Democratic Party. and Republican opposition.

“The value of the incident is teeth “It was on hold,” he explained, “pain was always an issue.”

In the end, Little told Blaze News the case was a classic example of legal action in a new era of bipartisanship, and said it should serve as a warning to others.

“This was a trial. If you could get in a time machine and go back to 2015, would you really understand what the laws of 2015 are?” Little said. “There is precedent for political prosecution…but the depths to which people are falling… 1711915204 It seems like my desire to go is getting stronger and stronger. ”

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