Attorney General Ken Paxton Seeks Protective Order Amidst Ongoing Whistleblower Suit

In a legal battle that has garnered significant attention, Attorney General Ken Paxton is now seeking a protective order to quash his upcoming deposition and those of his former high-ranking deputies in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought forward by four ex-aides. These former aides allege that they were unjustly fired after reporting concerns of Paxton’s potential misconduct in aiding a friend.

Paxton had initially attempted to block his deposition in the case, but the 3rd Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s order compelling him to testify under oath. In response, Paxton filed a motion in Travis County state District Court, indicating his willingness to accept a final ruling in the case. However, Judge Jan Soifer kept in place an earlier mandate, requiring Paxton’s deposition to take place by Feb. 9.

The lawsuit revolves around allegations that the ex-aides had informed the FBI of their suspicions that Paxton was misusing his office to assist a friend and campaign donor, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, who was the subject of a separate federal financial crimes investigation.

In his motion for a protective order, Paxton’s attorney, Bill Helfand, argues that the materials being sought through subpoenas and depositions are either privileged or have been previously disclosed. Helfand contends that the whistleblowers’ deposition requests are now unnecessary due to Paxton’s willingness to accept a verdict.

Paxton expressed his frustration with the lawsuit, characterizing it as an attempt to undermine his leadership and waste taxpayer dollars. He also pointed out that many of the whistleblowers’ claims had been publicly addressed during an impeachment trial in the Texas Senate, where he was acquitted of all charges related to abusing his office to assist Paul.

It’s worth noting that a $3.3 million settlement agreement between Paxton and the whistleblowers fell apart when the Legislature refused to fund it during its regular session. Instead, the House initiated an investigation into the whistleblowers’ claims and subsequently voted to impeach Paxton on multiple charges, including bribery and abuse of office. Paxton was ultimately acquitted by the Senate.

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Attorneys for the whistleblowers argue that Paxton’s claims lack merit and have been rejected in multiple courts. The depositions of key officials, including Paxton, are set to occur in early February as per the court’s order, with Paxton’s testimony scheduled for Feb. 1. A hearing date for Paxton’s request for a protective order had not been scheduled at the time of this report.

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