AUSTIN, Texas - House prosecutors spent much of day six of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial trying to show that Paxton used an outside attorney to go around his own staff to help a political donor.
Houston attorney Brandon Cammack appeared Tuesday before the Texas Senate to talk about a job he did in Austin three years ago.
"I was fired up about the opportunity to do it," said Cammack.
Cammack had been hired by Paxton after his top aides refused an order to investigate claims made by Nate Paul, a political donor from Austin. Paul claimed federal and state authorities were involved in a conspiracy to take his real estate holdings. Paxton wanted Cammack to get access to sealed court documents which Nate Paul and his lawyer Michael Wynne wanted.
"And he said, Well, look. His words were, if you think, just get a wet ink copy of the original search warrant, this may all be over pretty quickly," said Cammack.
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Cammack said Paul’s claims were convincing to him and that is why he eventually started issuing several grand jury subpoenas. Some of those targeted were people linked to Paul’s business rivals, law enforcement officers who investigated Paul, a judge, and even federal court employees.
Cammack admitted he was regularly receiving information from Wynne about people to include on the grand jury subpoenas. Cammack also admitted he tried to get personal e-mails, phone records and went to banks to get financial records. He also tried to interview a federal clerk about the death of his wife that, according to Cammack, Nate Paul suggested was suspicious.
Cammack said Paxton called him a special prosecutor but never provided him with credentials or an agency e-mail. He stopped after getting a cease-and-desist letter from the state.
When US Marshals showed up at his office, Cammack testified that he called Paxton and was told to get a lawyer. Later he met with Paxton and Paul to confront them about what was happening.
"The fact that I had a whole entire life before of all of this. You know, a docket, I had clients. I mean, I didn't ask for any of this. You guys reached out to me to come do a job, and then now you're pulling the rug out from under me and I'm getting cease and desist letters," Cammack said. "And now my name's being thrown through the mud in the media. And, you know, it's totally a new world to me. So, you know, I let that out."
Defense attorneys in cross-examination noted many of the decisions Cammack made were his own and not ideas from the attorney general. They did get Cammack to say he was not trying to benefit Nate Paul and he was never paid for his work.
Nate Paul earlier this year was indicted by a federal grand jury and is accused of hatching a multi-million-dollar bank fraud scheme. That trial was put on hold until after Paxton’s impeachment trial.
On Tuesday, the head of Amplify Credit Union was called to testify about part of the bank fraud case. Kendall Garrison said Paul was in default on a loan with Amplify for three properties and Amplify was trying to foreclose on the properties for non-payment.
In the Articles of Impeachment, Paxton is accused of issuing a late-night opinion that placed new COVID-19 restrictions on public property auctions which essentially staled the process. Garrison said because of the opinion, Amplify had to come up with a new strategy.
When asked who benefited from the AG's opinion, Garrison stated: "Nate Paul and the World Class Entities."
During cross-examination, Garrison admitted to Paxton's defense that the properties were eventually sold off and Amplify was able to recover its money.