A 'half-baked self-exoneration': Attorneys sound off after Paxton's office clears him in bribery case
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) who has been at the center of a years-long securities fraud investigation, has been cleared of any possible wrongdoing in connection with bribery allegations brought against him by former employees, new findings suggest. However, there is just one issue with the report: the investigation that led to his exoneration was conducted by his own office.
"AG Paxton's actions were lawful and consistent with his legal duties and prior actions taken by Attorneys General of Texas," the executive summary reads. "AG Paxton committed no crime."
Published under Paxton's official seal, the 374-page report compiled by Paxton's office, which includes exhibits, suggests the attorney general's former employees' allegations were not supported by substantial evidence, reports Law & Crime.
The latest internal report comes after several of Paxton's former aides—referred to as "Complainants" in the report—accused him of having "improper influence" in a case involving Austin, Texas real estate investor Nate Paul. Ironically, Paul also donated to Paxton's 2018 re-election campaign which also creates a conflict of interest.
"There is no evidence that Nate Paul attempted to bribe AG Paxton," the internal report by Paxton's office states. "The Complainants attempt to use a campaign donation as proof of the bribe, however, Paul has made only one campaign donation to AG Paxton in 2018 – not only well before the allegedly improper actions taken by AG Paxton in 2020, but even before the FBI's 2019 raid that formed the gravamen of Nate Paul's criminal complaints."
It also included a statement from Paxton who criticized his accusers, writing "some of the Complainants operated in an unaccountable manner by not documenting their actions, instructing subordinates not to document their actions, dismissing other employees so that they could have secret meetings, deleting emails, and potentially other acts taken to conceal behaviors, processes, and evidence."
The report has been slammed by the attorneys representing Paxton's former employees. On behalf of the legal team, attorney T.J. Turner released a fiery statement describing the internal report as a "half-baked self-exoneration."
"The takeaway from this internal report is that, although Ken Paxton remains under active federal investigation, the people who still work for Paxton say he did nothing wrong," attorney T.J. Turner wrote on behalf of that legal team. "Notably, whoever in Paxton's office wrote this report was not willing to put their name on it. Of course, the one-sided internal report is full of half-truths, outright lies, and glaring omissions. It is a half-baked self-exoneration by Paxton, who continues to use taxpayer dollars to delay and hide from simple document requests and depositions and pay private lawyers to keep the federal investigation quiet. The truth will come out, but you won't get it from Ken Paxton."
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