AUSTIN, Texas - Four staffers who were fired by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after reporting him to the FBI, spoke out at the Texas Capitol Monday.
They say their legal fight is not over, despite Paxton’s acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial.
"I'm happy to take a few questions from the media, something that Ken Paxton never does," said former Deputy Attorney General Blake Brickman.
The whistleblowers held a press conference Monday afternoon, announcing they’ve filed a new motion in the Texas Supreme Court.
"This is something we feel very, very strongly about," said former Paxton staffer Mark Penley.
"Ken Paxton will have to testify under oath or plead the Fifth in open court," said Brickman.
The former Paxton staffers say the attorney general reneged on a $3.3 million settlement reached with them last year in a wrongful termination lawsuit. They were never paid that money, due in part to the legislature voting not to use taxpayer money for it.
"For us, this case has always been about more than money. It's about truth," said Brickman.
The men were fired after telling the FBI in 2020 that they believed Paxton was illegally using his office to help his friend, Austin real estate investor Nate Paul.
"We saw personally that Ken Paxton would not obey the limits of the law. He would not stay within the guardrails, the boundaries of the law. And that's why we went to the FBI," said Penley.
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It was the whistleblowers’ lawsuit that spurred the House investigation of Paxton, which ultimately led to a vote to impeach him—with the former staffers testifying during the Senate trial earlier this month. Paxton was acquitted of all impeachment charges against him.
"The political trial is over, and it’s time for the case to return to a real court," said Brickman. "We will fight for justice in this case as long as it takes.
In a statement Monday, the attorney general’s office said the following:
"The Office of the Attorney General will respond to the so-called whistleblower plaintiffs’ comments in a written response to be filed with the Texas Supreme Court—consistent with that Court’s procedures—as opposed to staging a press event in the state Capitol."
Under the original settlement, the whistleblowers were also promised an apology from Paxton. So far, that apology has not happened—at least not publicly.