TEXAS AG IMPEACHMENT DAY 4: Ranger Warns AG About 'Crooked' Donor

House Impeachment Managers continued to call “prosecution” witnesses during day four of the impeachment trial of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. One of the witnesses, a Texas law enforcement “icon,” testified he warned Paxton that conducting an investigation for the benefit of donor Nate Paul could end up with them getting indicted. He called Paul a “criminal” who was “running a Ponzi scheme.”

Breitbart Texas reported that witness David M. Maxwell, Jr., a distinguished Texas law enforcement officer with 25 years of experience as a Texas Ranger, testified he told Paxton that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) could not be used to investigate Paul’s FBI and DPS investigators. Texas legal legend Dick Deguerin called Maxwell as a witness for House Impeachment managers.

Natin “Nate” Paul is an Austin real estate developer who is a large Paxton donor and the employer of Paxton’s alleged mistress. Paul is named in the articles of impeachment. He is specifically mentioned in six of the articles and is implicated in most of the others.

FBI agents arrested Paul in June. The 23-page indictment includes eight counts of making false statements to financial institutions.

The almost 50-year law enforcement professional testified the information Paul gave the office did not meet any of the requirements for an investigation. He testified that an investigation requires probable cause before they could move forward, and “This was not that.” The Ranger added that investigations require caution where public officials are concerned because the mere start of an investigation could “damage a public official.”

Ranger Maxwell served as the Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Division of the Texas Office of Attorney General before Paxton fired him for refusing to engage in the investigation.

Maxwell testified that General Paxton was “very angry with him” for refusing to investigate Paul’s investigators.

“I know his state of mind because he threatened to fire me during the meeting,” Maxwell stated. After three meetings with Paul, Paxton maintained his commitment to support Paul, he explained. Maxwell said he did not believe Paxton was going to stop the investigation.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, witnesses testified that Paxton wanted to hire an outside lawyer to investigate law enforcement agencies investigating Nate Paul and his properties. Paxton reportedly said he did not trust DPS or the FBI and believed they were “oppressing” Paul. The AG personally signed a contract with five-year lawyer Brandon Cammack who began issuing subpoenas to individuals and financial institutions. Top AG deputies would not sign off on the contract, witnesses said during the impeachment trial.

Maxwell was a Texas Ranger from 1986 to 2010. Among other distinctions, he received the DPS Director’s Citation regarding the arrest and prosecution of “Railroad Killer” Rafael Resendiz. He also received the Directors Award (ATF) for his part in the David Koresh investigation. Maxwell joined the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in 1972, serving in the narcotics division and the Texas Highway Patrol before going to the OAG.

The OAG’s lead investigator was on vacation when Paxton’s top executive deputies called him and said they were “going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me.”

Maxwell testified, “I joined the [whistleblower] suit because he [Paxton] ended my career in a very unjust manner.”

On cross-examination by high-profile criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell, the defense asked Maxwell why he never informed Nate Paul or his attorneys that the Travis County Attorney’s Office had recused itself from any investigation. At one point, Maxwell merely answered, “Correct,” after Cogdell continued to ask him about the situation.

Cogdell asked the OAG top investigator, “What crime is committed by asking you to investigate the legality of a search warrant?” The composed and experienced cop said, “Obstruction of justice and interfering into a felony investigation.”

On the morning of Day four, Paxton’s lawyer, J. Mitchell Little, cross-examined Vassar about text messages with the upper echelon making fun of Paxton’s new hires. Little repeatedly interjected that his client, Ken Paxton, is the “guy that got 4.2 million votes.” Breitbart Texas reported that during the first morning of the trial, Texas senators, serving as jurors in the impeachment trial, soundly rejected Paxton’s argument that the Prior-Term “Forgiveness” Doctrine should result in dismissing the impeachment proceedings.

When defense counsel asked Vassar about the response time on the Open Records Request, he could not recall whether the deadline to issue the opinion had been missed. Vassar testified on Day Three that the AG “asked us to find a way to release the information.” If they had done so, Vassar testified, “It would reverse decades of the law enforcement privilege.” Paxton reportedly said he thought Nate Paul was being “railroaded” and expressed distrust in law enforcement. Paul wanted law enforcement to have to release information relating to his investigation, witnesses stated.

Impeachment Article III charges that Ken Paxton abused the Open Records Process, disregarding his official duty. Specifically, “Paxton directed employees of his office to act contrary to law by refusing to render a proper decision relating to a public information request for records held by the Department of Public Safety and by issuing a decision involving another public information request that was contrary to law and applicable legal precedent.”

Vassar also testified that the unredacted FBI brief was released to Paul because General Paxton directed them to release it. “Paxton said he saw nothing that needed to be kept from Nate Paul,” Vassar testified. A lawyer at the OAG released the brief to a lawyer for Nate Paul, testimony revealed.

Paxton’s lawyer asked Vassar again about the OAG letterhead used without General Paxton’s name. Vassar responded, “It is not the only letterhead at the Office of Attorney General.” Little showed Vassar several documents with the AG’s name on them, but Vassar has continually testified that different letterheads are used in the office.

House “prosecutor” and well-known prominent Houston attorney Rusty Hardin examined Ryan Vassar on redirect. Vassar is the former Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel. Breitbart Texas reported that on Day three of the proceedings, the father of four and former Supreme Court of Texas clerk became tearful when asked about his reaction to Paxton’s calling his fellow whistleblowers “rogue employees.”

“The statement of being rogue is contrary to the years I dedicated my life to the State,” Vassar said while wiping his eyes. He explained that he joined the whistleblower lawsuit as an example to his children and the people he managed at the OAG.

Mr. Hardin cleaned up any confusion about the differences in the types of legal opinions and the process of issuing an Attorney General Opinion. Vassar said that Paul’s lawyer used the informal opinion in court within days of its issuance in an attempt to stop foreclosures during the COVID pandemic. Vassar said he had never seen Paxton get involved in drafting an opinion.

Hardin also clarified the perception caused by Vassar’s prior testimony that he and colleagues brought “no evidence” to the FBI when they reported Paxton. Vassar testified that his experience of what had happened was “evidence.” He referred to “our experiences” as the “cumulative knowledge” that top deputies had as a group. He “never viewed himself as an investigator.”

“I believed I was a witness to criminal activity that had occurred by General Paxton,” he stated.

During the impeachment proceedings, all of the House Impeachment Manager witnesses have testified that Paxton highjacked the resources of the Office of the Attorney General to benefit a private person, as well as benefit a private person over the public’s interest.

Article XVIII of the impeachment articles is a “catchall” that charges that “While holding office as attorney general, Warren Kenneth Paxton violated the Texas Constitution, his oaths of office, statutes, and public policy against public officials acting contrary to the public interest by engaging in acts described in one or more articles.” Article XVII charges, “Paxton misused his official powers by causing employees of his office to perform services for his benefit and the benefit of others.”

Houston lawyer and legal analyst Chris Tritico told Breitbart Texas, “The Texas Constitution bars and the Texas Penal Code makes it a crime for our government and our elected officials to use the public’s money and resources for the private gain of single citizens as opposed to the public good.” He added, “Violating these provisions can result in criminal sanctions and/or ethics charges up to removal from office.”

Former Harris County Republican Party Chairman and Houston defense lawyer Gary Polland told Breitbart, “The resources of the State of Texas are not to be used to support a private interest lawsuit. This isn’t a hard concept to understand.”

Article III of the Texas Constitution, section 52(a) provides, “Except as otherwise provided by this section, the Legislature shall have no power to authorize any county, city, town or other political corporation or subdivision of the State to lend its credit or to grant public money or thing of value in aid of, or to any individual, association or corporation whatsoever, or to become a stockholder in such corporation, association or company.”

Video archives of the impeachment proceedings can be found on the Texas Senate Impeachment website. The articles of Impeachment, the Rules of Procedure for the Court of Impeachment, the witness list, all motions filed by the House Board of Managers and Paxton’s defense team, exhibits, and other potential evidence are posted on the Texas Senate Court of Impeachment website.

Suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton did not attend the impeachment proceedings during the second, third, and fourth day of trial.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She is a trial lawyer who practices criminal defense and family law in East Texas. She was a Texas prosecutor and family court associate judge in Harris County, Texas.


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