Ken Paxton to file criminal complaints against Texas House impeachment managers

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, center, walks back to his seat after speaking privately with defense attorney Dan Cogdell before starting the ninth day of his impeachment trial in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Austin. Credit: Sam Owens/Pool via San Antonio Express-News

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday he plans to file criminal complaints against the group of state representatives who led the impeachment against him for releasing his personal information.

“The impeachment managers clearly have a desire to threaten me with harm when they released this information last week,” he said in a statement. “I’m imploring their local prosecutors in each individual district to investigate the criminal offenses that have been committed.”

The 12 House representatives being targeted by Paxton led the impeachment trial in the Senate after the House overwhelmingly voted to impeach Paxton in May. Last month the Senate acquitted Paxton of 16 articles of impeachment that alleged corruption and bribery.

In a statement Monday, Paxton accused the House impeachment managers of violating a new state law with an Oct. 2 release of documents related to the case. The new legislation cited by Paxton prohibits posting an individual’s personal information such as a home address or telephone number with the intent to cause harm to that individual or their family.

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Paxton said he plans to file the criminal complaints in each of the eight counties represented by the dozen impeachment managers. It is not clear which address is in question. Several of Paxton’s addresses are available through already-published public records, often found online from any location through local municipalities’ appraisal district databases.

House lawyer Rusty Hardin, who prosecuted Paxton, said Monday that the documents released last week contained the same information that was included in other documents that had already been filed or were admitted into the impeachment trial without objection.

He also said that the information about Paxton’s residence is available through public records, and has been for years. Further, he said the release of documents was not conducted with an intent to cause harm to Paxton as he alleged — it was “simply a repeat of public information to anyone that wants to look into it.”

If Paxton makes good on his pledge to file the criminal complaints, Hardin said his Houston law firm will consider countering with a criminal complaint against Paxton for making a false report to police.

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“This is the exact kind of bullying, uninformed vengeful act that we predicted if the attorney general was not impeached,” Hardin said. “He’s trying to misuse the criminal justice system to cower and punish people who sought to impeach him under the law. It’s just one more outrageous, vengeful act by a man who has no business being attorney general.”

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.