Texas State Bar sues AG Paxton for ‘dishonest’ challenge to 2020 election results

Less than 24 hours after Attorney General Ken Paxton snagged the Republican nomination for re-election, the Texas State Bar sued him Wednesday for his “dishonest” attempt to void the 2020 presidential election.

The short four-page lawsuit, filed in hometown district court in Paxton, Collin County, contains claims identical to those of litigation filed earlier this month against Paxton’s deputy principal, First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster. Paxton violated the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct by including false and misleading statements, according to the association.

“His allegations were not supported by any credible or admissible charges, indictments, judicial findings and/or evidence, and did not disclose to the Court that some of his representations and allegations had already been tried and/or dismissed. by a court,” the suit reads, referring to a number of voter fraud claims that had already been debunked by the time Paxton filed his petition.

The four battleground states that Texas sued — Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — were then forced to spend time, money and other resources responding to those claims. , according to the lawsuit.

Texas’ 2020 lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court was almost immediately dismissed for lack of standing, and former President Donald Trump’s own Justice Department found no evidence of fraud that could have change the outcome of the elections.

The lawsuit against Paxton does not specify what type of punishment the bar recommends, but possible penalties range in severity from a warning to disbarment.

Wednesday’s lawsuit came after five complaints were filed by individuals, including Gary Ratner, a Maryland attorney and co-founder of the group Lawyers Defending American Democracy, and Kevin Moran, a Democratic Party activist in Galveston. .

“This is a very strong complaint from the bar,” said Jim Harrington, a Texas attorney who co-signed Ratner’s complaint and founded the Texas Civil Rights Project, a non-profit organization that defends the right to vote. “I think they hit the nail on the head, and I hope we see justice as a result of this.”

Neither the attorney general’s office nor his campaign staff Iimmediately responded to requests for comment. Paxton framed the bar investigation as a partisan witch hunt from the start.

“I fully support this lawsuit,” Paxton said on Twitter earlier this month, referring to the contestation of the election results. “I am certain that not only will the bar lose, but it will be fully exposed for what it is: a group of liberal activists posing as a neutral professional association.”

“Texas Bar: I will see you and the leftists who control you in court,” he added. “I will never let you intimidate me, my staff or the Texans I represent into backing down or being lenient in standing up for the rule of law – something you have little knowledge of.”

Under state bar rules, disciplinary cases are filed in the county in which the attorney primarily practices. If there’s more than one, the bar files in the county where the attorney lives — Paxton said Collin County. Likewise, the lawsuit against Webster was filed in his Williamson County hometown. That decision is up to the subject of the prosecution, according to the rules.

Also under the rules of the bar, these suits are heard by a judge appointed from another district.

In Paxton’s case, it will be Judge Casey Blair of Kaufman County, a Republican elected in 2014. Webster’s case will be heard by Judge John Youngblood of Milam County, also a Republican who was first nominated. by Governor Rick Perry in 2011 and elected for the first time. in 2012.

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