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Ken Paxton could be deposed after Texas judge’s ruling in whistleblower lawsuit

By Pooja Salhotra, The Texas Tribune

Ken Paxton could be deposed after Texas judge’s ruling in whistleblower lawsuit” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Attorney General Ken Paxton’s efforts to end a whistleblower lawsuit against him has been dealt another blow after a Travis County judge denied his attempt to end the case without being deposed.

The ruling, which Paxton’s office publicized in an angry statement late Wednesday, means Paxton remains ordered to sit for a deposition on Feb. 1 in the wrongful termination suit filed in 2020 under the Texas Whistleblower Act. The lawsuit from four of Paxton’s former top aides allege that they were fired as punishment for reporting Paxton to the FBI on suspicion of bribery. The aides said they believed Paxton was misusing his office to help campaign donor and friend Nate Paul.

Paxton has previously sought to block his deposition and end the suit, but earlier this month, the 3rd Texas Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision to force him to testify under oath. The deposition was set for Feb. 1.

Last week, Paxton tried to end the long-running dispute, when he said he would no longer contest the facts of the case and would accept any judgment. Paxton denied any wrongdoing, framing the move as an effort to end a costly and distracting lawsuit, not an admission of guilt.

Travis County Judge Jan Soifer’s latest decision means Paxton could have to answer questions about the case that led to his impeachment trial.

In a statement, Paxton condemned the judge’s decision, saying the court was “recklessly disregarding legal precedent, abusing the litigation system, and displaying shocking bias.”

“Travis County has established itself as an unfair venue where litigants’ fate is predetermined by the courts political leanings,” the statement said.

Paxton has not yet indicated whether he will appeal the judge’s decision.

Patrick Svitek contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2024/01/25/ken-paxton-whistleblower-deposition/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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