A Collin County court Thursday tossed out an attempt to stop payments to the special prosecutors appointed to pursue the financial fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Filed by prominent real estate developer and Paxton donor Jeff Blackard, the lawsuit argued that Collin County was paying too much to the attorneys prosecuting Paxton, violating local rules for such fees.
In an order issued Thursday signed by Judge Mark Greenberg, the court states that Blackard lacked jurisdiction to file his complaint.
The dismissal is the latest twist in the case against Paxton, who is accused of soliciting investors for a technology firm without disclosing the company was compensating him. Yet to stand trial, the McKinney Republican pleaded not guilty to the three felony charges he faces in August.
Blackard, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and “similarly situated taxpayers,” lives in Hopkins County but pays taxes for two parcels of property in Collin County, along with local sales taxes.
His initial filing said he sought “to halt a threatened expenditure of public funds that would unlawfully serve to enrich private attorneys at the expense of taxpayers in Collin County, Texas.” It argued that promised payments of $300 per hour to the special prosecutors “would constitute an illegal expenditure of taxpayer funds” because they would eclipse fees typically paid to attorneys appointed to represent poor defendants.
Paxton lawyer Bill Mateja said the attorney general’s legal team had no comment on the development.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2016/03/17/judge-throws-out-attempt-cap-paxton-prosecutors-fe/.