By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News
Texas AG Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr. CBS Photo
Sixteen Texas lawyers, four of them former presidents of the State Bar of Texas, filed a complaint asking bar regulators for Texas Attorney General Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr. to be permanently barred from practice.
The 31-page complaint, which was filed by the filers, condemned Paxton’s filing of a Supreme Court lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 election in four states. They also urged Americans to march on Washington in January to support the efforts of then-President Donald Trump to overturn the election.
Lawyers Defending American Democracy jointly filed the complaint with Texas State Bar. They called it “an extraordinary repudiation of a Texas State attorney general by leaders of the legal profession.”
Randall Chapman, former chair of Texas Supreme Court’s Grievance Oversight Committee, former Texas Assistant Attorney General Judy Doran, former Travis County Attorney David Escamilla, former Mexican American Bar Association of Texas president Maria Luisa Flores, and James C. Harrington founder of Texas Civil Rights Project.
The complaint details a lawsuit Paxton filed in December 2020. It was a lawsuit he requested the Supreme Court to stop Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin from using presidential election results for electors. Instead, the Supreme Court required the legislatures of the states to appoint either new electors or none.
The complaint states that “If given the power of appointing their own electors,” the State legislatures would have predictedly appointed electors who would vote for Donald Trump in the Electoral College.
“Alternatively, if there had been no electors appointed by the legislatures, Mr. Trump would have won the Electoral College because there would not have been any electors voting to elect Mr. Biden from these four states.
“In both cases, granting Mr. Paxton relief would have overturned presidential election results, making Mr. Trump the loser.”
The New York Times reports that this is not the first time Paxton, a Republican has been in the news for alleged ethics violations. After he appointed a special prosecutor in November 2020 to investigate investor Nate Paul’s claims that law enforcement had acted illegally in raiding Paul’s home and office in 2019, aides accused Paxton in bribery.
According to The Texas Tribune, Paul, a close friend of Paxton, contributed $25,000 towards Paxton’s 2018 re-election campaign. This accusation of wrongdoing prompted calls to Paxton’s resignation. It came just a few years after a Texas grand jury indicted him on securities fraud charges and failing to register with state securities board in 2015.
According to The Times, the most serious charge was that Paxton encouraged investors to invest more than $600,000 in Servergy, a tech company. However, he failed to tell them that he was making a profit on their investment and misrepresented himself as an investor in Servergy. There were many controversies surrounding this case.
The Times reported that in 2015,
Anthony Holm, a spokesperson for Mr. Paxton was vocal in his defense of Mr. Paxton before the indictment. He described the case as a political witch-hunt, suggested that an anti Paxton blogger had engaged jury tampering and questioned both the eagerness of the special prosecutors to cover news and their impartiality in being criminal defense lawyers.
Paxton’s recent complaint regarding the “frivolous lawsuit” he filed calls on the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel (OCDC) to investigate the allegations and other allegations against Paxton in other complaints and “initiate the necessary procedures to suspend or expel him.”
The complaint states that “such conduct cannot be accepted by any person licensed to practise law in the United States, less a sitting state Attorney General.” “Mr. Paxton’s post-dismissal, unethical behavior was serious in itself. It demonstrates a pattern in ethical misconduct and makes his previous conduct in the Supreme Court lawsuit more egregious.”
Click here to read the entire 31-page complaint.
Eva Herscowitz intern at TCR Justice Reporting.
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