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Attorney General Ken Paxton will face lawyers for the men who accused him of securities fraud seven years ago in an hour-long deposition after the November election.
The Dallas Morning News reported On Thursday, Collin County District Court Judge Cynthia Wheless ordered Paxton to sit for deposition Nov. 28, three weeks after Paxton’s re-election race peaked. He is running against Democrat Rochelle Garza.
Paxton did not immediately respond to requests for comment through his government or campaign offices. Phil Hilder, the attorney representing Paxton in his securities fraud case, declined to comment.
Paxton faces a tough challenge from Garza, with two recent polls showing the two-term holder up just 2 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively. Legal challenges have troubled him for years, including during the GOP primary earlier this year, when three opponents shone a light on the legal scandals. In addition to the securities fraud case, Paxton also faces a whistleblower lawsuit from former senior MPs who accused him of abuse of office. An FBI investigation resulted from these allegations.
The deposition is part of a separate but related trial to the seven-year-old securities fraud indictment in which two men, Byron Cook and Joel Hochberg, accuse Paxton of encouraging them to invest in tech company Servergy Inc., based in McKinney, without disclosing it, he would receive a commission on these investments. Cook is a former state legislator who served in the Texas House with Paxton.
A year after Paxton was indicted on three counts alleging securities law violations, an associate of his, Charles “Chip” Loper III, sued Cook and Hochberg, accusing them of creating a scheme to leverage investment funds from Unity Resources, a mining company. asset company. Loper said the scheme hurt him and his father financially.
Lawyers for Cook and Hochberg said the lawsuit was a retaliatory measure. Last year they were able to add Paxton as a “responsible third party” to the case arguing that he was also an investor and the company’s attorney. As such, they said, Paxton should be held accountable for any alleged wrongdoing.
In a deposition in the Unity case, attorneys for Cook and Hochberg can ask Paxton about his other securities fraud case.
Paxton denied wrongdoing in both cases. He faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted in the securities fraud case linked to Servergy.
Lawyers for Cook and Hochberg had tried to file him twice over the summer in the Unity case, but Paxton’s legal team said the attorney general had scheduling conflicts. He was previously deposed in the Unity case in August 2019, but the tapes of that deposition remain sealed, according to The Dallas Morning News.
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