Texas AG Refuses to Hand Over Records 01/22 09:31
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has rejected a
prosecutor's demand for records of his appearance at a pro-Donald Trump rally
that preceded the assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Last week, the Travis County district attorney's office had set a four-day
deadline for Paxton to turn over the records involving the Jan. 6, 2021, rally
or face a lawsuit accusing him of violating the state open records law. But in
a letter to the district attorney's office Friday, the attorney general's
office denied any violations and rejected the office's demands.
The Texas Tribune was the first to report about Paxton's refusal. A message
to the district attorney's office seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.
Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, appeared at the event in
Washington, D.C., where the attorney general gave a speech touting his failed
legal push to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.
Several news organizations have requested Paxton's communications from
around that time under the Texas Public Information Act. Last March, six news
outlets jointly published a story raising questions about whether Paxton was
breaking open records laws.
Earlier this month, top editors at five Texas newspapers -- the Austin
American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the
Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News -- filed a complaint asking
the district attorney to investigate the alleged violations.
Paxton faces several GOP challengers in his reelection bid this year.
In 2020, eight of Paxton's top deputies accused him of bribery, abuse of
office and other crimes in the service of another supporter, an Austin real
estate developer who employs a woman with whom the attorney general allegedly
had an extra-marital affair. The FBI is investigating those allegations.
The attorney general has also spent most of his time in office under a
separate felony indictment. He pleaded not guilty in 2015 to three state
securities fraud charges but is yet to face trial.