AUSTIN, Texas — A group of top aides for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking federal law enforcement to investigate their boss, the state's top lawyer, for possible crimes that include bribery and abuse of office, KVUE News and the Austin American-Statesman have learned.
A letter sent to the agency's human resources director said the executives have provided statements to law enforcement about actions they believe Paxton committed "in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas."
"We have a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential criminal offenses," the Oct. 1 letter states.
The letter – signed by executives who include Paxton's first assistant and deputies overseeing divisions such as criminal investigations and litigation – does not provide details of the conduct they allege Paxton committed. Paxton's first assistant, Jeff Mateer, resigned last week.
The document goes on to say the employees notified Paxton in a text message this week about the allegations.
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In a statement on Saturday evening, Paxton's office said, "The complaint filed against General Paxton was done to impede on an ongoing investigation into criminal wrongdoing by public officials including employees of this office. Making false claims is a very serious matter and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law."
The statement did not elaborate. However, Paxton released another statement on Monday.
“The Texas attorney general’s office was referred a case from Travis County regarding allegations of crimes relating to the FBI, other government agencies and individuals. My obligation as attorney general is to conduct an investigation upon such referral. Because employees from my office impeded the investigation and because I knew Nate Paul I ultimately decided to hire an outside independent prosecutor to make his own independent determination. Despite the effort by rogue employees and their false allegations I will continue to seek justice in Texas and will not be resigning.”
On Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the allegations involving Paxton "raise serious concerns," but he will "withhold further comment until the results of any investigation are complete."
The Statesman reported that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick learned about the allegations against Paxton through media reports. "These issues are obviously concerning. I will wait until the investigation is complete before making any additional comments," Patrick said.
Paxton, a Republican, is already facing criminal charges alleging securities fraud in Collin County.
Amid the allegations, on Monday, Paxton announced the appointment of Brent Webster as the first Assistant Attorney General.
“I am honored that Attorney General Paxton has chosen me to lead in the attorney general’s office at an incredibly critical time in the history of this state,” Webster said. “I look forward to working with Attorney General Paxton to lead an agency that greatly impacts Texas, and therefore, the U.S.”
Webster has served as a criminal prosecutor in the state for 10 years, also serving as the First Assistant District Attorney in Williamson County. There, he was awarded the “Crime Victim Advocate Hall of Fame Award” for outstanding service to crime victims. Since then, he's also served as a civil litigator and as a criminal defense attorney in private practice.
“The addition of Brent Webster as First Assistant Attorney General will bring substantial real-world experience to the Office of the Attorney General and further strengthen the work we do to serve our great state,” said Paxton. “Brent has invaluable and extensive experience in a variety of legal and policy matters. I am confident that he will diligently and faithfully serve the office and the people of Texas.”
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