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Texas court of appeals allows deposition of AG Ken Paxton in whistleblowers case

Ken Paxton was acquitted of all 16 impeachment charges Saturday. Four other charges were later dismissed.
Michael Minasi
Ken Paxton was acquitted of all 16 impeachment charges Saturday. Four other charges were later dismissed.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton could have to answer questions under oath in a lawsuit that prompted his impeachment last year.

In a one-sentence order issued Friday evening, Texas’s Third Court of Appeals denied Paxton’s challenge to a lower court order requiring him to be deposed in a lawsuit brought by a group of former top deputies.

The Court, which has a Democratic majority, also denied Paxton’s petition to enforce a settlement agreement with the former employees.

Friday’s ruling means Paxton and three of his aides will have to participate in a deposition in the case. However, he’s likely to appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

Paxton’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Blake Brickman, Ryan Vassar, Mark Penley, and David Maxwell were all working for Paxton in 2020 when they reported their boss to the FBI. The four men accused Paxton of abusing his office to help a political donor.

Shortly after, they filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination.

In response to Friday’s ruling, Tom Nesbitt, Brickman’s attorney, told The Texas Newsroom the decision is “another court rejecting Ken Paxton’s effort to … deny accountability for his own grimey conduct.”

Nesbitt said he expects Paxton to appeal, adding “there’s no limit to the amount of taxpayer money Ken Paxton will try to spend to continue to buy delay.”

In February of 2023, both parties reached a settlement agreement for $3.3 million that included an apology from Paxton for calling them “rogue employees” in a news release.

However, the Texas Legislature decided to not appropriate the funds to pay the settlement.

Instead, the Texas House of Representatives launched an investigation into the whistleblower claims that resulted in the impeachment of Paxton, the first one in over 40 years.

The Texas Senate acquitted Paxton of all impeachment charges in September.

Copyright 2024 KUT News. To see more, visit KUT News.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán