|Anti-gay bigot indicted|
Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas and a former state legislator, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of securities fraud and of failing to register with the state securities board, officials said.
The grand jury in the northern Dallas suburb of McKinney handed up a three-count indictment against Mr. Paxton on Tuesday, the officials said. The indictment is to be unsealed on Monday, when Mr. Paxton is expected to turn himself in to the authorities at the Collin County Jail.The charges — two counts of first-degree securities fraud and one count of third-degree failure to register — are tied to Mr. Paxton’s work soliciting clients and investors for two companies while he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, before he was elected attorney general in November.
In the most serious charges, first-degree securities fraud, Mr. Paxton is accused of misleading investors in a technology company, Servergy Inc., which is based in McKinney, his hometown. He is accused of encouraging the investors in 2011 to put more than $600,000 into Servergy while failing to tell them he was making a commission on their investment, and misrepresenting himself as an investor in the company, said Kent A. Schaffer, one of the two special prosecutors handling the case.
Mr. Schaffer said politics had played no part in the indictment. “I have nothing personal against Mr. Paxton based on his politics,” he said. “Even if you found fault with Brian Wice or myself, how do you find it with the Texas Rangers? These are the most honest, straightforward, incorruptible police officers you’re ever going to find. They don’t have political motivations, and they certainly wouldn’t have any against the sitting attorney general.”A conviction for a first-degree felony in Texas can carry a punishment of life in prison or a sentence of five to 99 years. A third-degree felony is punishable with a sentence of two to 10 years. Mr. Paxton helped create the possibility of such severe punishment: As a freshman representative in the Texas House in May 2003, he voted to amend the state securities law to make it a felony to act as an investment adviser representative without being registered, the very crime the grand jury accuses him of committing.As the state’s top lawyer and law enforcement officer, Mr. Paxton has made headlines for challenging the Obama administration on its immigration and environmental policies and for encouraging county clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples on religious grounds after the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding same-sex marriage.Servergy has also been the subject of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investigation centered on whether Servergy and its founder, Bill Mapp, who has since resigned as chief executive, made misleading statements about the company to induce investors to buy Servergy stock, according to court documents the S.E.C. filed. Mr. Paxton’s name and email address appeared in documents Servergy filed to comply with S.E.C. subpoenas.