Multiple court issues ahead for embattled Texas AG Ken Paxton

August will be a pivotal month for embattled and impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

His first big challenge will not involve the upcoming impeachment trial, but a hearing next week in a Harris County courtroom regarding a different legal battle. 

The hearing on August 3 is related to Paxton's securities fraud case which he was indicted for in Collin County in 2015. The case stalled because he tried to keep the case in Collin County despite prosecutors saying they could not get a fair trial there due to Paxton's long history representing the county in the Texas Legislature.

In June, the court announced the case would be held in Houston.

Paxton's attorneys released a statement at the time that read in part that the timing was designed to "create maximum negative press and political damage."

FOX 7 Austin spoke to political analysts Mark Jones with Rice University and Brian Smith with St. Edward's University about how the hearing in Houston could factor into the impeachment trial in Austin.

"I think it's probably more of a fly in the ointment, but it does remind everyone that Ken Paxton's legal troubles date back a long period of time," said Jones.


Some fallout is expected, according to Smith.

"Politically, it is a big deal because now you're going to have really three trials going on the impeachment trial, the security hearing, plus the court of public opinion, that's also going to be weighing in because in the impeachment trial, those senators are worried about their re-election bid. So for the attorney general Paxton, this couldn't come at a worse time," said Smith.

Paxton, who remains on suspension without pay, has two other legal problems.

"He's going to have to deal with the Bar, ethics charges, and he's going to have to deal with anything that emerges from the Nate Paul case," said Jones.

Austin developer Nate Paul is under a federal indictment involving several land deals. His case was to have a critical hearing also in August, but the trial was pushed to next year. Paxton’s alleged involvement is a big part of the Articles of Impeachment against him

All the cases show Paxton is far from being out of the woods, but Jones suggested there could also be a September surprise.

"There's always the possibility that if he is impeached, both of these cases effectively go away. In the sense that the proponents of the cases would have achieved their overall objective, and that is removing Ken Paxton from office as attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer in the state of Texas," noted Jones.


Beating the Impeachment, according to Smith, all but guarantees the other cases will move forward.

"Even if he is innocent in the impeachment, now, we know this one's going to come to trial. We've started the hearings. So he can't dodge this bullet any longer. And a worst case scenario for the attorney general, he's found guilty by the Senate and guilty on the security hearing or the securities. And that means he would lose his office and also go to jail potentially for a very long time," said Smith.

Ken Paxton is certainly in the political hot seat, but is the Republican Party also on trial?

"Those members of the Republican Party in the Senate, they're definitely on trial, and they're on trial with their political base because there's a lot of Camp Paxton support out among the Republican Party," said Smith.

Paxton, Smith pointed out, beat out several solid contenders to win the primary and re-election in 2020.  Jones also said in Texas, where the GOP remains strong, Paxton can lose support and still win another primary race. However, he believes that political cushion does not equal a win in a general election.


"I think what it is foreshadowing is problems more in November 2024 in the presidential election in the sense that candidates like Donald Trump and Ken Paxton may be able to win primaries, but in competitive general elections, they're going to be they're going to have more trouble," said Jones.

Paxton would certainly emerge from the ballot box bruised and battered in Smith’s opinion.

"And if he does survive, it'll be almost a legal miracle and definitely a political scar that he's going to have to carry forever," said Smith.

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View of the floor of the Texas Senate which is preparing for the upcoming impeachment trial of Ken Paxton. (Scott Braddock with the

The state Senate is already being prepared for the Sept. 5 impeachment trial

Images of the chamber sent to FOX 7 Austin by Scott Braddock with the show a stand in the front part of the room where questioning will be done. There is a witness box to the left, as well as tables for Paxton’s defense team and House prosecutors.

Upcoming key dates for the trial include two deadlines: August 5 for pre-trial motions and August 15 for motions to be answered. 

Earlier this week Paxton’s defense team filed a motion to throw out the Articles of Impeachment.