By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune, texastribune.org
Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked a federal court to dismiss the federal securities fraud charges against him.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in April accused Paxton in a civil complaint of misleading investors in a technology company, echoing state criminal charges handed up last year by a Collin County grand jury. The allegations stem from private business dealings from when Paxton was a state representative — before he was elected attorney general in 2014.
Paxton’s lawyers in the federal case filed a motion Thursday seeking to dismiss the charges, arguing that the SEC has failed to show that Paxton lied to investors and arguing that the investors did not lose any money.
“In short, the SEC’s claims against Mr. Paxton are a dramatic overreach and lack any basis in law,” says the motion filed in the Eastern District of Texas. “Mr. Paxton should not be left to labor under a cloud of suspicion while enduring years of costly discovery to refute claims that are meritless on their face.”
Paxton reiterated Thursday his belief that he is innocent. “I did not violate the federal securities laws, and I intend to defend myself vigorously against these allegations,” Paxton said in a statement.
Also on Thursday, Matthew Martens was named lead counsel for Paxton in the SEC case. Martens is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, which specializes in securities defense.
Last week, Paxton lost a bid to throw out the state charges against him in a Dallas appeals court. As of last week, his lawyers in that case had not decided whether to appeal the decision to the state’s highest criminal court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.