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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Says He Will Concede Whistleblower Lawsuit

— January 18, 2024

Although Paxton’s filing indicated that he would accept any judgment issued by the court, he has continued to insist that the whistleblowers’ lawsuit is politically motivated.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has announced that his office will no longer contest a whistleblower lawsuit, asking that the case be dismissed and saying that he would accept any judgment.

According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit was initiated by former members of Paxton’s own office staff. In their complaint, they said that Paxton terminated their positions after they informed the F.B.I. that the attorney general had misused his influence to protect a friend.

The friend, notes The Associate Press, had donated to Paxton’s re-election campaign, and was actively involved in helping Paxton conceal an extramarital affair.

The whistleblowers’ lawsuit later served as the basis of impeachment proceedings against Paxton. However, the state’s Republican-dominated legislature later acquitting Paxton on all counts.

TJ Turner, an attorney for whistleblower David Maxwell, suggested that Paxton is pushing for an end to the complaint, likely in the hopes that he not be deposed or compelled to provide testimony in a later trial.

A 2013 image of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Alice Linahan Voices Empower. (CCA-BY-2.0).

“There is clearly no length to which Ken Paxton will go to avoid putting his hand on a Bible and telling the truth, including confessing to violating the Whistleblower Act and opening up the states’ coffers to an uncontested judgment,” Turner said, adding that he is assessing his client’s legal options.

Tom Nesbitt, a lawyer for plaintiff Blake Brickman, said that the Paxton’s petition will not necessarily end in its dismissal.

“It does not end the case,” Nesbitt said. “This is a pathetic bid for more delay by a coward.”

Paxton, notes The Associated Press, had earlier suggested settling the case for $3.3 million—money that would have been paid by taxpayers, rather than taken from his own pocket.

As part of that offer, Paxton agreed to apologize for characterizing his accusers as “rogue” employees.

Nonetheless, in spite of his office’s request that proceedings be closed without respect to a potentially adverse judgment, Paxton has continued to insist that the whistleblowers’ claims were without merit.

“There should be no doubt, however, that nothing stated herein should be construed as an admission that the [Office of the Attorney General], or its employees, violated any State or federal law,” Paxton’s filing said.

And, on Thursday, Paxton again reiterated his claims that the lawsuit is but a politically-motivated bid to detract from his leadership. In offering to resolve the case, Paxton said, he is simply trying to spare the state from further litigation-related costs.

“I will not allow my office to be distracted by these disgruntled former employees and their self-serving side-show,” Paxton said. “It has become increasingly clear their objective is not to resolve an employment lawsuit but to sabotage my leadership and this agency, ultimately aiming to undermine Texas as the nation’s leader against the federal government’s unlawful policies.”


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