Texas Supreme Court halts depositions in lawsuit against Ken Paxton

 February 1, 2024

In a move that has left critics baffled, the Texas Supreme Court moved this week to temporarily halt depositions for a whistleblower case against Attorney General Ken Paxton. 

According to The Texas Tribune, that decision came down on Tuesday and resulted in depositions that had been scheduled for Thursday to be postponed until an as yet unknown date. No reason for the delay was provided.

Whistleblowers' attorneys insist that Texans "deserve answers"

The state's highest judicial body gave attorneys involved in the case until February 29 to respond with legal arguments.

Those attorneys include Tom Nesbitt and TJ Turner, who put out a statement in which they insisted that "[t]he people of Texas deserve answers from Ken Paxton."

"This was not a ruling on the merits and we look forward to continuing the fight for justice in this case," Nesbitt and Turner stressed.

The Tribune noted that Tuesday's ruling came less than a month after a Travis County district court judge had ordered the state attorney general along with three high-level aides to be deposed.

Paxton was acquitted of all charges in impeachment trial

The controversy stems from a whistleblower lawsuit filed by four former top deputies of Paxton who contend that the state attorney general improperly fired them in 2020.

Their termination is said to have been done in retaliation for a report filed with the FBI over Paxton's alleged abuse of his authority to help his friend and political donor Nate Paul.

Those assertions led to Paxton being impeached by the Texas House last year on bribery and corruption charges, although he was ultimately acquitted in the state Senate.

The Tribune pointed out that Paxton unsuccessfully attempted to avoid being deposed by taking what it called the "remarkable" step of announcing that he would no longer contest the facts of the case.

"Today, my office acted to end this wasteful litigation by filing an amended answer that — consistent with the previous decision to settle this case — will enable the trial court to enter a final judgment without any further litigation," Paxton said last month.

Trump weighs in

The newspaper also observed that Tuesday's ruling by the Texas Supreme Court came the same day that former president Trump publicly came to Paxton's defense.

"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 was quoted saying in a post on Truth Social.

The former president went on to demand that the state Supreme Court justices "end the Politicization and Abuse of our Justice System."

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