Paxton appeals to Texas Supreme Court to end whistleblower suit

The Office of the Attorney General announced it will request that the Supreme Court of Texas put an end to the ongoing whistleblower lawsuit after the OAG dropped its contest of the allegations against it.

Attorney General Ken Paxton and three top aides are slated for deposition in early February at a Travis County district court in the long-running litigation under the Texas Whistleblower Act. Paxton and the OAG filed effectively a “no contest” plea, asking the court to halt the depositions, issue an immediate judgment, and enforce the previously agreed-to $3.3 million settlement — which fell apart when the Texas House balked at paying the sum, sparking the House investigation that led to Paxton’s impeachment.

The OAG’s stated justification for the request was to put an end to the litigation that is distracting the agency from its typical duties.

After the district judge rejected that request and the OAG appealed it, the Third Court of Appeals dismissed that appeal on Friday in a brief, one-line opinion. Then on Sunday, the OAG issued its announcement.

“Last week, the OAG requested the Third Court of Appeals step in to put a stop to a Travis County judge’s lawless orders requiring unnecessary and harassing depositions in a case brought by four disgruntled former employees,” the statement read.

“Disappointingly, the court denied relief despite the OAG’s decision not to contest liability, which put an end to any need for further discovery in this case and permits the OAG to focus on the critical challenges facing our State, including the unprecedented flood of illegal immigration at our southern border.”

The intention of the maneuver is the same as any other defendant that pleads no contest: to bring an end to the case before more time and money is consumed.

“In seeking review, the OAG will ask the Supreme Court simply to treat the OAG the same as any other litigant who chooses not to contest a lawsuit,” the OAG’s statement added of the petition that was filed on Monday. “The men and women of the OAG who represent the State of Texas look forward to focusing on work that matters to all 30 million Texans, and not the personal crusade of four former employees.”

But despite this, the former OAG employees-turned-“whistleblowers” — Blake Brickman, Ryan Vassar, Mark Penley, and David Maxwell — are not letting up. They’re opposing the expedited judgment, and want Paxton and his aides to sit for deposition.

Following the OAG’s announcement, Brickman told The Texan, “This will be Ken Paxton’s 13th attempt to get a court to prevent him from testifying. For those keeping score — he is 0 for 12 — including 2 losses at SCOTX.”

“Ken is scared — but every Texan deserves the truth — which is why we will continue to fight.”

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court denied a motion by the OAG to place a stay on the depositions; Justices John Devine and Jimmy Blacklock dissented in part, wanting the court to first prioritize depositions of lower level employees.

The Supreme Court also permitted the long-dormant case to resume in December after Paxton was acquitted by the Texas Senate’s Court of Impeachment on 16 charges.

Travis County District Judge Jan Soifer set a hearing for Wednesday this week on the motion to enter a judgment.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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