COLLIN COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself into the Collin County Jail on Monday morning. According to court records, Paxton was booked into the jail before 10:30 a.m.
The 52-year-old has officially been charged with two counts of fraud sell securities and one count investment adviser or representative without registration.
Paxton arrived to the jail in a black SUV, was booked and released on a personal recognizance bond.
KXAN’s Chris Sadeghi caught the Attorney General’s departure on camera
In July, special prosecutors presented evidence in Collin County alleging Paxton committed securities fraud in a case stemming from his solicitation of investment clients several years ago while in private practice.
Last year, Paxton accepted a $1,000 fine from the Texas State Securities Board for not being a registered solicitor while taking commissions for referring law clients to a financial investor. The state board declined to pursue criminal charges against Paxton, but following a complaint by the left-leaning watchdog group Texans for Public Justice, the case was revived and a judge ultimately appointed two special prosecutors.
Paxton indictment differs from Perry’s
Paxton joins former Gov. Rick Perry as the second high-ranking Texas official in the past year to be indicted while in office.
In this case, GOP leaders are silent on the attorney general’s case. It’s a sharp contrast to how conservatives rallied around Perry last year when a grand jury in liberal-leaning Austin handed up a two-count indictment against Texas’ longest-serving governor over a 2013 veto. A judge earlier this month tossed out one of the indictments, leaving only an abuse of power charge.
The cases against Paxton and Perry widely differ, including the fact that Paxton’s was investigated by the Texas Rangers.
“The Texas Rangers aren’t politically motivated in investigating the crimes they’re investigating,” said David Owens, a former Texas prosecutor who’s now a criminal defense attorney. “If you’ve got the Texas Rangers bringing forth this case, it’s serious.”
Barely seven months after becoming Texas’ top law enforcement officer, Paxton faces accusations that he misled investors in a McKinney-based tech startup before taking office, special prosecutor Kent Schaffer told The New York Times.
Schaffer did not return messages seeking comment Sunday. He and a co-special prosecutor, Brian Wice, only hinted at the indictment over the weekend in a broader statement, saying they are committed to ensuring that anyone accused of a crime is guaranteed a presumption of innocence and a fair trial.
The most serious of the allegations is that Paxton encouraged investment in Servergy Inc., which is now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Associated Press reported last month the connections between the startup and Paxton, who listed himself as a shareholder and whose name is among search terms that Servergy attorneys used to satisfy a federal subpoena.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.