AG Paxton facing State Bar ethics investigation

- The top lawyer for the state of Texas is in deep danger of not being a lawyer at all. That's because State Bar is investigating Attorney General Ken Paxton for ethics violations.

If the charges are substantiated, the 53-year old former State Representative could be stripped of the one credential required of his office.

"If they find an ethics violation, they can take his license away-- which means he can't be the attorney general any more," said Chris Tritico, Fox 26 Legal Analyst.

The complaint is linked to an statement issued by Paxton last summer which appeared to encourage county clerks to deny marriage licenses to gay couples.

Critics say Paxton's guidance was in open defiance of the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage.

Tritico says the State Bar rarely pushes a case this far unless there's strong evidence.

"To vote this out of committee they have to find that there was a probable ethical violation. This is a committee made of lawyers and citizens and has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the State Bar rules," said Tritico.

The state's top law enforcement official is also under criminal indictment for securities fraud.

Prosecutors claim Paxton was paid to peddle tech stock to investors while falsely suggesting he'd sunk his own money into the venture.

While Paxton claims the charges are groundless, Rice political analyst Mark Jones says the black cloud of prosecution has exacted a heavy cost.

"This really creates a lot of noise when your attorney general is indicted for securities fraud and faces an ethics investigation by the State Bar. That's really not good at all and overshadows everything else the Attorney General is doing," said Jones.
 

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