Texas' Top Lawyer Is Charged With Fraud

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was booked this morning
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 3, 2015 11:20 AM CDT
Texas' Top Lawyer Is Charged With Fraud
This handout photo provided by Collin County, Texas shows Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton, who was booked into the county jail Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in McKinney, Texas.   (AP Photo/Collin County via AP)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was this morning booked at a Dallas-area jail on felony charges alleging that he misled investors before becoming the state's top lawyer. Paxton arrived at the Collin County jail today to be processed on two counts of first-degree securities fraud and a lesser count of failing to register with state securities regulators. The 52-year-old Republican was fingerprinted and photographed before being released on bond. Barely seven months after becoming Texas' top law enforcement officer, the tea party conservative is accused of having misled investors in a McKinney-based tech startup before taking office, per special prosecutor Kent Schaffer. The most serious of the allegations is that Paxton encouraged investment in Servergy Inc., which is now under investigation by the SEC.

The AP reported last month the connections between the startup and Paxton, who listed himself as a shareholder and whose name is among search terms that Servergy attorneys used to satisfy a federal subpoena. Although indictments against attorneys general are not common, Paxton has company both in Texas and around the US. In 1983, Texas Democrat Jim Mattox was indicted on charges of commercial bribery shortly after his election and was later acquitted. More recently, a Pennsylvania grand jury in January recommended that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane face charges over allegations that she engaged in a cover-up and lied about her role in a grand jury leak to a newspaper. Kane, who took office in 2013, has not been charged and has consistently denied that she broke any laws. (More attorney general stories.)

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