Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton denies bribery allegations made by top aides

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Texas AG refuses to resign despite bribery allegations
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Could this be the twist that leads to the end of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's political career? ABC13's Tom Abrahams spoke with the reporter who broke this story and what could happen if Paxton were to resign.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing serious pressure Monday after several top aides accused him of breaking the law, but he remains defiant.

In a letter obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, seven of Paxton's top aides allege improper influence, bribery and abuse of office.

READ MORE: Texas AG Ken Paxton's top aides want him investigated for bribery, report says

All of it is allegedly connected to an Austin real estate developer.

Eyewitness News spoke with Ryan Autullo, who is among the team of reporters at the Statesman who broke the story over the weekend.

"Concerns about [Paxton] have been going on for years," Autullo told ABC13. "This is most likely going to hit a national radar if it hasn't already, because again, you have an attorney general in the state of Texas who is already indicted now being alleged of some pretty serious misconduct by very high profile people in his office."

Plus, there is already concern among Republican leadership.

In a statement issued by Gov. Greg Abbott Monday morning, he said, "These allegations raise serious concerns. I will withhold further comment until the results of any investigation are complete."

Paxton was indicted in July 2015 for securities fraud.

That case is still in the courts, and Mark Jones, a political science fellow at the Baker Institute at Rice University, said this only amplifies the spotlight on the embattled AG.

"Unless General Paxton can pull a rabbit out of his hat and offer a convincing explanation, there is going to be considerable pressure on him from most of the GOP establishment in Texas to resign sooner rather than later," Jones explained.

Paxton issued a lengthy statement Monday afternoon denying the allegations.

At its conclusion, he wrote, "Despite the effort by rogue employees and their false allegations I will continue to seek justice in Texas and will not be resigning."

If Paxton were to resign, Abbott would then appoint an interim attorney general.

The Texas Senate would then have to confirm the choice in the next legislative session.

Paxton's second term is up in 2022.

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