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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, to avoid being served with a subpoena Monday, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
Ernesto Martin Herrera, a process server, was trying to serve a subpoena on the attorney general for a hearing in federal court Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by nonprofits seeking to help Texans pay for out-of-state abortions. Later Monday, Paxton filed two motions: a motion to quash the subpoena and another to seal the certificate of service, which included an affidavit from the process server. His attorneys claimed the server “hung out at the state attorney’s house for over an hour, repeatedly yelled at him and approached” Paxton and his wife. U.S. District Judge Robert Pittman granted both requests early Tuesday, hours after the affidavit was released.
When Herrera arrived at Paxton’s home in McKinney Monday morning, he told the woman, who identified herself as Angela, that he was trying to turn legal documents over to the state’s attorney. She told him Paxton was on the phone and couldn’t get to the door. Herrera said he would wait.
Almost an hour later, a black Chevrolet Tahoe pulled into the driveway, and 20 minutes after that, Ken Paxton came out of the house.
“I walked up the driveway and walked up to Mr. Paxton and called him by name. “As soon as he saw me and heard me calling his name, he turned and ran back into the house through the same garage door,” Herrera wrote in the affidavit.
Angela Pakton then left the house, got into a Chevrolet truck in the driveway, started it and opened the door.
“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Pacton running from the door inside the garage toward the back door behind the driver’s side,” Herrera wrote. “I walked up to the truck, called his name loudly and said I had court documents for him. Mr Paxton ignored me and continued walking towards the truck.”
Herrera eventually laid the subpoena on the ground near the truck and told him he had served him with the subpoena. Both cars drove away, leaving the documents on the ground.
On Twitter, the Attorney General said his sudden departure was motivated by concerns for the safety of his family.
“It is clear that the media wants to create another controversy related to my work as a state prosecutor, so they are attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering in front of my house and showing concern for the safety and well-being of my family.” ,” he he wrote in a tweet.
In a seven-page sealing motion, Paxton’s attorneys argued that their client was never told the process server’s name or given any identifying information about it.
They further argued that it was “at best, reckless and irresponsible” to make public the attorney general’s home address, stating in the motion that the detail “did not serve a legitimate purpose in the litigation and is completely irrelevant to the substantive issues before the Court.” In his lawyers’ motion to quash the subpoena, Paxton pointed out that top executive branch officials should not be subpoenaed to testify except in extraordinary circumstances.
“Prosecutors have no standing to subpoena Paxton’s testimony unless he has first-hand knowledge of the pending claims and other persons cannot provide the necessary information,” the filing states.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs asked a federal judge during a hearing Tuesday to reconsider their lawsuit quashing the subpoena. The judge did not rule on that new request.
Paxton doubled down on his statement Tuesday morning in a statement distributed by his campaign.
“In light of the ongoing threats against me, which have dangerous individuals currently incarcerated, I take a number of common sense precautions for myself and my family’s safety when I am at home,” Paxton said. “Texans are doing the same to protect themselves from threats, and many are also using their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and their families.”
Paxton has been accused of securities fraud for seven years and is facing a whistleblower lawsuit from former top deputies who have accused him of abuse of office. Paxton denied wrongdoing.
He was forced into a runoff for the Republican nomination for another term after high-profile Republicans, including former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, tried to overthrow him. But Republican voters chose him over his opponents within the GOP, who criticized his legal and personal scandals during the campaign.
He will face Democrat Rochelle Garza in November.
Reporter Alejandro Serrano contributed to this story.
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