Paxton Deposition Paused, Trial Will Continue

Attorney General Ken Paxton
Attorney General Ken Paxton | Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s scheduled deposition in the whistleblower case has been put on hold for now, but a district court judge has rejected his request to avoid a trial.

Paxton was expected to sit for a deposition on February 1 to answer questions under oath about a lawsuit filed by former employees, who claim they were improperly fired after reporting Paxton to the FBI for alleged abuse of office. The allegations by the whistleblowers led to Paxton’s impeachment trial last year, where he was acquitted of 16 of the 20 articles of impeachment. The remaining four charges against him were dropped.

The deposition is now on hold after Paxton’s attorneys filed an emergency petition with the Texas Supreme Court to prevent the AG and the four aides tied to the scandal from testifying. SCOTX, comprising nine justices, ruled Tuesday to temporarily stay the depositions.

No reason was provided as to why the most recent appeal was granted, but the Court has requested a response from attorneys from both sides by February 29 explaining their legal arguments.

The decision to pause the depositions became public just hours after former President Donald Trump gave his two cents on the social media platform Truth Social, where he defended Paxton.

“Enough time and money has been wasted forcing [Paxton] to defend himself, instead of defending our broken Southern Border, which is under continual siege,” Trump wrote. He urged the justices to “end the Politicization and Abuse of our Justice System.”

On Wednesday, Paxton’s attorneys filed a motion in Travis County District Court to have the whistle-blower case decided without a trial, a move that Judge Catherine Mauzy rejected. Paxton was seeking a judgment to end the ongoing legal process that began in 2020.

“We still have to put on our case,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, T.J. Turner, said after the judge’s ruling. “This is just the latest parlor trick in the Office of the Attorney General’s quiver so that they avoid what the AG fears the most, and that’s testifying under oath.”

Paxton had hoped to avoid a lengthy, costly trial over the case. After the Senate acquitted Paxton, the AG said he would not argue the ongoing whistleblower case, would accept whatever damages were presented, and would give up his right to appeal. This led some Republicans who voted for acquittal to call for impeachment hearings to be reopened.

“At this stage, and the point of this letter, I am asking the Senate whether there is a legal mechanism to reopen the impeachment proceedings,” State Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) wrote in a letter on January 25. “Failure to at least consider this possibility runs the risk of AG Paxton making a mockery of the Texas Senate.”

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