COLLIN COUNTY, Texas -- The indictment is unsealed, the mugshot is out, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is officially accused of three felonies for fraud.
Paxton is accused of two felony counts of securities fraud: encouraging State Rep. Byron Cook and Florida businessman Joel Hochberg to invest over $100,000 in a company called Servergy. But he allegedly did not disclose that he was receiving a commission for their investment.
He’s also accused of not registering as an investment advisor, a lesser charge that he’s admitted to.
Paxton turned himself in at the Collin County Jail Monday morning and then made his getaway in a black SUV. About two dozen protesters and nearly as many tv cameras awaited his arrival at the Collin County Courthouse, but the AG was a no show.
“I think he should resign,” protester Steven Spainhouer said. “I don’t want to have an Attorney General that's spending his time trying to figure out how to defend himself when he needs to be doing his primary role and responsibility as attorney general.”
Paxton did have one defender at the courthouse Monday, though.
“He has done much for me and represented me well,” said Patti Jones. “So, I am praying for a fair trial, a fair and swift trial.”
Paxton’s lawyer, Joe Kendall, released a statement this afternoon that his client “will plead not guilty (and) he is looking forward to the opportunity to tell his side of the story."
Judge George Gallagher has given instructions to make no further public comments.
Paxton has now headed back to Austin and can remain on the job while he fights the charges. If convicted, he’d no only lose his job as the State’s top lawyer, but could face up to 99 years behind bars.
This is the second high-ranking elected official in Texas to be indicted in the past year. And it looks like Paxton followed Rick Perry’s example when it came time for his mug shot: suited up with a slight smirk of a smile.
Hey, at least Paxton didn’t have to wrap a towel around his neck like everybody else who gets booked at the Collin County Jail.