Attorney General Ken Paxton shows up in Houston court on security fraud charge

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Attorney General Ken Paxton was back in court Thursday.

Paxton is awaiting trial on felony security-fraud charges, and for the first time, the hearing took place in a Houston courtroom, before Harris County Judge Robert Johnson.

Paxton’s trial was moved from Collin County (near Dallas) at the request of prosecutors.

A new judge was appointed to replace the former presiding judge, George Gallagher of Fort Worth, on a motion from the defense.

The purpose of today’s hearing was to set a trial date, but the special prosecutors asked to put that on hold until they get paid.

Last month, Collin County prosecutors voted not to pay the special prosecutors in the case, Kent Schaefer and Brian Wice, who is also a Channel 2 legal analyst.

Wice asked the judge to delay setting a trial date until the Dallas Court of Criminal Appeals can rule on a lawsuit challenging the prosecutors' fees.

Wice characterized the move to defund the prosecution as an attempt to derail the charges against Paxton.

Defense attorney Dan Cogdel argued that delaying until that issue is resolved interferes with Paxton's right to a speedy trial.

Paxton was indicted in August 2015 on two counts of securities fraud and one count of failing to register as a financial advisor, all felonies that carry a potential penalty of up to 99 years in prison.

Johnson delayed making any official rulings today. He asked both sides to submit a timeline history of actions in the case, and ordered both sides to be back in court July 27.

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