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Paxton Dodges Civil Penalty, but Criminal Jury Trial Awaits Him
Don’t expect Ken Paxton to admit it, but the decision by a federal judge to drop civil charges against him doesn’t do much to clear up his legal problems. The federal civil charges against Paxton were technical in nature and would have resulted in only a fine.
The three criminal fraud charges still pending against Paxton are another matter. Paxton will be tried in state criminal court before a jury who will hear the details of how he won the trust of friends and clients and then swindled them out of their money. If found guilty of the state charges, Paxton could be sentenced to up to 99 years in a state penitentiary.
Expect Ken Paxton, his attorneys, and his political cronies to cheer today’s action and claim victory. Don’t be fooled. It is just Paxton spin directed at the press and at nervous fellow Republicans. Paxton and his legal team know that he remains in serious trouble with the criminal trial still ahead. The Dallas Morning News wrote, “the federal civil case has no direct impact on the outcome of Paxton’s criminal case, securities experts said.”
Judge implied unethical behavior
Even while letting Paxton off, the federal judge hearing the civil case made the important point that the, “question before the Court is not whether Paxton should have disclosed his compensation arrangement but whether Paxton had a legal duty under federal securities law to disclose." The take away is clear enough – Paxton had a moral responsibility to tell his clients he was making money off of them.
Statement from Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle:
"Ken Paxton may have slipped the snare in federal civil court, but he remains in deep trouble, and a prison cell may be waiting for him on state criminal felony fraud charges.
“Paxton knows that facing a jury who hears how he swindled honest Texans out of their money could mean big trouble for him. Paxton will try every legal trick and procedural gimmick to avoid a fair hearing in front of fair Texans.”