Texas businessman at center of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment facing new charges
DALLAS (AP) — A Texas businessman at the center of the scandal that led to the historic impeachment of state Attorney General Ken Paxton has been charged with additional federal crimes.
The new indictment of Nate Paul alleges that he defrauded business partners, adding to earlier charges that the Austin-based real estate developer made false statements to mortgage lenders to obtain $172 million in loans.
Paul, 36, pleaded not guilty in June to the eight counts of making false statements while seeking loans from mortgage lenders in the U.S. and Ireland. His attorneys did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the superseding indictment issued Tuesday on four new counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The charges against Paul are the result of a yearslong FBI investigation that Paxton involved his office in, setting off a chain of events that led to a separate federal probe of the Republican attorney general and his May impeachment by the GOP-controlled state House of Representatives.
Paxton was suspended from office ahead of his impeachment trial, where he pleaded not guilty to political charges including misconduct, bribery and corruption.
In September, the state’s Republican-controlled Senate fully acquitted Paxton — a resounding victory that reaffirmed the power of the GOP’s hard right and put an indicted incumbent who remains under FBI investigation back into office.
Neither Paxton nor Paul was called to testify at the impeachment proceeding.
Paxton’s impeachment arose out of eight of his top deputies telling the FBI in 2020 that he was abusing his power and breaking the law to help Paul. They all were subsequently fired or quit and half the group later sued under the state’s whistleblower law.
This year, Paxton agreed to settle their suit by apologizing and paying the group $3.3 million in taxpayer money. But the payment required legislative sign-off and it was that process that prompted the impeachment investigation, according to the bipartisan group of lawmakers who led it. Most of Paxton’s former deputies testified against him at the impeachment trial.
Because the settlement payment was never approved, Texas’ top civil court allowed the whistleblower’s suit to resume. But it was delayed again Tuesday when the attorney general’s office won a temporary restraining order from a state court judge who’d not previously been involved in the case.
Lawyers for the whistleblowers are challenging the order and said Paxton’s office sought it days after they’d served the attorney general and his three top aides with notices to take their depositions.
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