As expected, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted on three felony counts involving securities fraud. The indictments, which were unsealed today, charge Paxton with two first-degree counts of securities fraud and one third-degree count of failing to register with the State to sell securities. The first degree counts could net Paxton up to 99 years on each count, with the lesser charge carrying a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. In addition, Paxton could lose his law license and be forced to resign his office.
The securities fraud charges, wherein he is accused of defrauding two individuals of more than $100,000 each, involve Paxton’s dealings with Severgy, a McKinney, Texas-based company currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The lesser, failure-to-file charge, involves Paxton’s relationship with friend and campaign donor, Fritz Mowery. Paxton is alleged to have referred clients to Mowery without disclosing that he (Paxton) was receiving commissions for the referrals.
Paxton supporters claim that the investigation by the Texas Rangers is a “witch hunt.” However, Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, discounts such claims. The Texas Rangers are known to operate outside the political arena. In addition, the special prosecutors were appointed by a Republican judge, and the Grand Jury was seated in a Red County. The TDR called for the Attorney General to resign, stating that the charges hurt his credibility and ability to perform as the State’s top prosecutor.
Not one to turn down a little special privilege, Paxton was driven to the Collin County Jail by his security detail into the jail’s garage, where he was not seen by the public. Paxton was booked, photographed and fingerprinted, and unlike other defendants, he was pictured wearing his suit and tie instead of the requisite white towel around his neck. It’s hard to tell based on the ‘you ain’t got nuthin’ on me grin’ on his face, if Paxton thinks he’ll win at trial, or if he just doesn’t grasp the seriousness of the situation.
Featured image courtesy of Collin County.