Texas Supreme Court Pauses Paxton Deposition, But AG No Longer Contesting Facts in Whistleblower Case

Paxton Whistleblower

On February 1, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was to sit for a deposition in an ongoing whistleblower suit against him. It was the first time Paxton would have to testify under oath and answer questions from opposing lawyers.

However, on January 30, the state’s Supreme Court temporarily halted the process, blocking the depositions and giving the parties until February 29 to respond with broader legal arguments.

This development comes after Paxton’s January 18 announcement that his office would no longer contest the facts in the years-long whistleblower suit against him. However, in the same filing, his office would not admit guilt, stating: “There should be no doubt, however, that nothing stated herein should be construed as an admission that the OAG, its employees, or the Attorney General violated any State or federal law.”

James Blake Brickman, David Maxwell, J. Mark Penley, and Ryan Vassar are four out of eight former employees who reported Paxton to the FBI in 2020 over allegations of bribery, tampering with government records, obstruction of justice, harassment, and abuse of office and were subsequently removed from his office. These four sued Paxton for wrongful termination and retaliation, claiming that Paxton retaliated and violated the Texas Whistleblower Act by firing them in the fall of 2020 after they filed a complaint with the FBI.

Following Paxton’s announcement, Brickman said: “He cannot stop his deposition in this case, and what he’s doing is saying ‘I’m going to concede the facts. I’m going to allow a judgment to be entered. But I didn’t break the law.’ Our entire case is about whether he broke the whistleblower law or not, so he can’t have his cake and eat it too.”

On January 19, District Judge Soifer ordered that Paxton sit for his deposition under oath on February 1. Top staffers were to be deposed in the following days.

In the order, Judge Soifer said the mandate was required because the Attorney General’s office had “failed to negotiate in good faith” to schedule testimony by Paxton and several top aides.

Following Judge Soifer’s order, Paxton’s office appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas, asking the justices to put the depositions on hold.

The Supreme Court did not explain its decision to block the depositions.

“This was not a ruling on the merits, and we look forward to continuing the fight for justice in this case,” two whistleblower attorneys, Tom Nesbitt, and TJ Turner, said in a statement. “The people of Texas deserve answers from Ken Paxton.”

Brickman said he and his fellow whistleblowers, who were all hired by Paxton, will not give up. “All the whistleblowers want is the truth to come out.”

“We are not going away. For us, this case has always been about more than money. It’s about truth. It’s about justice.”

Exit mobile version