RUNNING SCARED: Texas AG Ken Paxton flees the scene as process server tries to hand him subpoena
For Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the rule of law only applies to those he doesn’t like. On Monday morning, the Lone Star State’s top prosecutor dodged being served a subpoena in a Bonnie and Clyde move – speeding away in a black SUV driven by none other than his wife, Texas state senator, Angela Paxton.
According to process server Ernesto Martin Herrera, he arrived at the Attorney General’s North Dallas home and was told, “Paxton was on the phone and unable to come to the door. Herrera said he would wait,” Texas Tribune reported.
“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name. As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage,” Herrera wrote in the sworn affidavit.
“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” Herrera wrote. “I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck.”
Herrera was attempting to serve the law-breaking attorney general in a class action civil suit brought by reproductive rights groups helping Texas women secure and pay for safe and legal abortions in other states. The suit has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
“Angela Paxton then exited the house, got inside a Chevrolet truck in the driveway, started it, and opened the doors,” Herrera stated.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit— Fund Texas Choice, the North Texas Equal Access Fund, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Frontera Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network, and reproductive healthcare provider, Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi — are seeking an injunction against House Bill 1280, a “trigger ban” law passed in September 2021 that went into effect in August 2022, just 30 days after the GOP-packed U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn 50 years of constitutionally protected reproductive health care rights for women.
An injunction would prevent Paxton, county, and district attorneys “from using that law and other statutes to target those reproductive rights groups for activities the groups say conservative state leaders may politically oppose but are still legal.”
The groups want the court to confirm that “the Trigger Ban cannot be enforced by any Defendant … in a manner that violates Plaintiffs’ rights to freely travel, freely associate, freely speak, and freely support members of their communities through financial assistance, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and federal law,” according to the suit.
Unsurprisingly, Paxton played the victim – saying he “feared for his family’s life” and accusing Herrera of loitering outside of his McKinney, Texas home.
It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 27, 2022
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted Paxton’s motion to seal the affidavit.
This isn’t the Texas Attorney General’s first brush with the law. Paxton is under federal indictment for securities fraud – a case still open after seven years of investigation – and whistleblowers in the AG’s office filed a civil lawsuit after being fired for exposing their boss’ corruption. Former deputy attorneys general James Blake Brickman, Mark Penley, and Ryan Vassar, as well as the office’s former director of law enforcement, David Maxwell, reports The Texas Tribune.
“The most basic qualifications of an attorney general are respect for truth and respect for the law. Ken Paxton has neither,” the whistleblowers said in their statement. “The day will come when Ken Paxton must testify under oath about his and his agency’s actions. Until then, we call on Ken Paxton to start telling the truth to the people of Texas.”
Ken Paxton is up for reelection this November, running against Democratic candidate Rochelle Garza. As the architect behind Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order to the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of transgender youth, Paxton apparently believes that the rule of law applies to everyone in Texas but himself.
Let’s hope that the people of Texas see fit to replace Paxton with someone like Garza, who doesn’t have the criminal liability of the current attorney general.
Read court details here.
Original reporting by Eleanor Klibanoff at The Texas Tribune.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
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