The pending corruption trial against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been a lengthy matter held up by appeals and other legal maneuvers.
Prosecutors wanted the case postponed so as they could get paid. In the spring it was moved out of Collin County and scheduled for September.
The Texas Tribune reported that special prosecutors handling the securities fraud case against Paxton proposed moving the trial date back from May 1.
In March, a state district judge said he would move Paxton’s criminal securities fraud trial out of Collin County and push the hearing back. The move by Judge George Gallagher was seen as a setback for the attorney general. The judge also denied a motion by Paxton’s lawyers to dismiss the charges against him. The trial will now be held in Harris County.
The Tribune reported the prosecutors wanted the trial to take place at least 60 days after a Dallas appeals court settles an ongoing payment dispute.
The issue followed the filing of a lawsuit by a Paxton supporter. In early 2016, the 5th Court of Appeals temporarily stopped Collin County from making payments to the outside prosecutors assigned to the case.
The action led to uncertainty about whether they will get paid as they work on the case.
The Tribune described how officials in Collin County appointed the special prosecutors in 2015.
Kent Schaffer and Brian Wice were drafted onto the case after Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, stepped aside. Willis is a friend of the attorney general who has business links. Nicole Deborde, a Houston attorney, later joined the prosecution team.
The prosecutors told a hearing in March how everyone was being paid apart from them.
Jeff Blackard, an ardent Paxton supporter, fought in the courts to limit payments of $300 an hour to the prosecutors. He said excessive taxpayer money is going toward the case against the top official. Last year a series of legal efforts by Paxton’s team to dismiss the fraud case against him failed.
Paxton is accused of misleading investors of a company before he became the attorney general of Texas.
In March, a federal judge dismissed for a second and final time, a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It accused Paxton of securities fraud in private business deals in 2011.
The separate criminal case against Paxton is based on the same business deals. Although he defeated the federal, civil case, the state charges are more serious. They carry a potential prison sentence of up to 99 years.
Paxton has responded to the concerns of the special prosecutors by urging them to drop their criminal case against him. He said their request to delay his trial from May 1 until they are paid violates his right to a speedy trial.
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