Thursday, March 30, 2017

From the Texas Tribune: Judge orders Ken Paxton trial moved out of Collin County and delayed

For 2306, and our look at the executive and judicial branches - and the criminal justice system.

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The judge in the securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has ruled that the trial should be moved out of Collin County and delayed.

The ruling to change venue is a major victory for prosecutors, who had argued Paxton and his allies had tainted the jury pool in Collin County, where he lives.

Judge George Gallagher said the trial, initially scheduled for May 1, will now be postponed until a new venue is determined.
Gallagher on Thursday denied two other motions: to dismiss the case and to delay it until prosecutors can get paid.

Paxton is accused of misleading investors in a company from before his time as attorney general, a legal saga that began more than a year ago. He recently beat a federal, civil case involving similar allegations, but the state charges remain — and they are more serious, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 99 years.

Gallagher's ruling on the venue is somewhat surprising. Weeks ago,
Gallagher had signaled that he had wanted to at least try to move forward with the case in Collin County, where jury selection had been set to begin in a few weeks.

In court, prosecutors had sought to show collusion among Paxton, his team and his supporters aimed at creating a sympathetic jury pool. Paxton's lawyers had argued they had no ties to the alleged effort and that it wasn't affecting public opinion even if it existed.

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