DALLAS — In their first interview together since being selected to prosecute the impeachment case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Dick DeGuerin and Rusty Hardin said the evidence against Paxton is as “strong as horseradish.”
“I think the facts are much worse than either one of us guessed, that we did not know until last week and started reading,” said Hardin on a new episode of the Y’all-itics podcast released Friday evening.
Hiring Hardin and DeGuerin for any case sends a message. But bringing them in to prosecute Paxton reveals just how far House Republicans will go to remove their attorney general from office.
“The evidence is as strong as horseradish. Rusty is right about that. It’s worse than the public knows,” DeGuerin added.
Within an hour or so of the impeachment vote last Saturday, House Speaker Dade Phelan and the Republican chairman of the House Investigating Committee, State Rep. Andrew Murr, reached out to the legendary Houston lawyers.
Hardin and DeGuerin told the podcast they did not hesitate to take this case prosecuting Paxton.
“For seven years his conduct in all kinds of ways, it’s not a single incident or two or three as I’ve said, it’s a whole pattern of conduct that is just a cancer on the justice system in Texas,” Hardin explained.
Both men have defended some of the most notable names of the last few decades, professional athletes like Scottie Pippen and Roger Clemens, even the former leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh.
DeGuerin defended former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land.
Hardin was one of the prosecutors in the Whitewater case against the Clintons in 1994.
This is not about politics, DeGuerin said, it’s about principle.
“It’s a matter of cleansing the justice system to take out somebody who doesn’t respect it and abuses it as the evidence shows that Paxton has done in this case,” he continued.
But if the details are so damning, as they said, why haven’t federal prosecutors ever charged Paxton with a crime?
“Well, we’ve asked that same question. There has been communication back and forth between federal authorities and the committee,” DeGuerin said.
That is a revelation that has not been made public – that Texas House Republicans and federal authorities have spoken to each other.
Paxton insists the allegations against him are easily disproved.
But he now faces two Texas icons with more than 100 years of legal experience.
Still, can they convince this jury made up of the state’s 31 senators? The jurors are politicians who want to please their voter bases. Getting them to put aside politics to carefully weigh the evidence against Paxton is likely to be the most challenging part for even the best attorneys.