HOUSTON (AP) — Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, awaiting the start of a separate impeachment trial, is set to appear in a Houston courtroom Thursday to discuss his nearly decade-long delayed trial on securities fraud charges.
It’s unclear if any decision will be made during the court hearing on when Paxton might finally go to trial on felony charges of defrauding investors in a tech startup. He was indicted in 2015.
The case is back in a Houston courtroom after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a decision last month by a judge who originally oversaw the case to move the proceedings out of Paxton’s hometown near Dallas. Paxton has spent years fighting to keep the trial in Collin County, where he maintains wide support among GOP activists and his wife, Angela Paxton, is a state senator.
Paxton was scheduled to appear in court during the hearing, said Philip Hilder, one of Paxton’s lawyers. Paxton has rarely appeared in court for hearings in the securities fraud case.
Hilder declined to comment on what might be discussed during the status conference hearing but said he expected it to be “relatively short.”
Brian Wice, a special prosecutor who was appointed to the securities fraud case after Paxton was indicted, declined to comment.
The hearing will be before state District Judge Andrea Beall, a Democrat.
The indictments accuse Paxton of defrauding investors in a Dallas-area tech startup by not disclosing he was being paid by the company, called Servergy, to recruit them. The indictments were handed up just months after Paxton was sworn in as Texas’ top law enforcement officer.
A multitude of reasons have delayed the trial, including legal debate over whether the case should be tried in the Dallas area or Houston, changes in which judge would handle the case and a protracted battle over how much the special prosecutors should get paid.
If convicted of the securities fraud charges, Paxton faces up to 99 years in prison.
Thursday’s hearing comes as Paxton faces removal from office following his historic impeachment by the state House in May. A trial in the Texas Senate is set to begin Sept. 5.
The case is among the 20 articles of impeachment the Texas House of Representatives brought against Paxton. Other impeachment charges surround Paxton’s relationship with Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer who has been indicted on charges of making false statements to banks to obtain more than $170 million in loans.
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