By Chuck Lindell – American-Statesman Staff
Facing possible prison time over accusations that he defrauded investors in 2011, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insists that he is the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt because he dares to run his powerful agency based on conservative Christian values.
Paxton places most of the blame for his legal troubles on a vendetta by a friend-turned-adversary, with some cutthroat politics in Collin County, where the criminal charges originated, thrown into the mix.
Prosecutor Brian Wice isn’t buying it, calling the assertion “as predictable as it is untrue.”
The information behind Paxton’s criminal charges, Wice said, was collected by the Texas Rangers, a legendary law enforcement organization that is frequently called upon to investigate politically sensitive matters.
The judge who appointed Wice and Kent Schaffer as special prosecutors is, like Paxton, a Republican.
The grand jury that indicted Paxton last summer is from Collin County, a Republican stronghold north of Dallas where Paxton has lived for years.
The judge who oversaw that grand jury is a Republican. So is the trial judge who denied Paxton’s request to toss out the criminal charges. So is every member of the state appeals court that upheld the charges in June.
“Politics played absolutely no role in the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Paxton,” said Wice, a Houston defense lawyer who led the appeal that freed Tom DeLay, once among the most powerful Republicans in the U.S. House, from criminal convictions over political donations.
Paxton stands accused of two counts of felony securities fraud for soliciting investors in Servergy Inc. without disclosing that the McKinney tech company agreed to pay him to hawk its stock.