Texas Supreme Court pauses Paxton depositions

Just days away from the scheduled deposition of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on February 1 in the years-long whistleblower lawsuit, the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX) has issued a temporary stay, blocking Paxton and three of his senior employees from being deposed — for now.

The lawsuit was brought by former senior employees of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG)—Blake Brickman, Ryan Vassar, Mark Penley, and David Maxwell — who reported Paxton to the FBI on suspicions of corruption and were later fired after Paxton learned of their actions. They say their termination violated the Texas Whistleblower Act, prompting the lawsuit. 

The OAG recently took an unusual course of action in the case by essentially declaring they would no longer contest it, saying the lawsuit is distracting the office from other important business, and asked the judge to enter a verdict. 

If granted, the move would avoid the depositions of Paxton and senior aides First Assistant Brent Webster, Chief of Staff Lesley French Henneke, and Senior Advisor Michelle Smith. Paxton was scheduled to be deposed on Thursday, and the others soon thereafter. 

The OAG filed an appeal with SCOTX earlier this week seeking to block the depositions and have the case put to rest without allowing the lawsuit to return to the discovery phase. 

Just before the OAG announced its appeal, an article questioning the impartiality of the justices was published by the National Pulse and reshared on social media by numerous national political figures close to former President Donald Trump — who is an ally of Paxton. 

Then, hours before the SCOTX issued its stay in the case, Trump himself took to Truth Social, calling on the court to side with Paxton and end the suit. 

The order stays the trial court proceedings until the justices can review the appeal and decide whether or not to take up the case. It requests both parties to submit briefs by February 29 — likely pushing any depositions that may eventually occur until after the March 5 primary election. 

Only one member of the court, Justice Evan Young, was listed as not participating in issuing the stay order. 

The court will eventually decide whether to take up the appeal. If it does, it would likely delay a decision on whether the depositions will occur for even longer. But if not, the court will likely allow the trial court to proceed. 

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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