HOUSTON (AP) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will stand trial on securities fraud charges in April, a judge ruled Monday, more than eight years after the Republican was indicted and a month after his acquittal in an impeachment trial over separate corruption accusations.
Paxton was in the courtroom when state District Judge Andrea Beall of Houston set the April 15 trial date in the long-delayed criminal case, which began in 2015 when a Texas grand jury indicted him on charges of duping investors in a tech startup.
At the time, the felony charges appeared to threaten his political career. But Paxton, who has pleaded not guilty, has instead become an even more dominant figure in the Texas GOP and won reelection twice since his indictment.
The scheduling of the trial comes at a moment when Paxton has appeared politically recharged after the Texas Senate acquitted him on impeachment charges over accusations that he used his office to help a political donor. Since then, Paxton has returned to his job and is supporting primary challengers to Republicans who led the impeachment investigation.
The FBI is still investigating Paxton over the allegations of abuse of office.
By now, allegations that Paxton defrauded investors in a Texas startup called Servergy around 2011 are more than a decade old. Special prosecutors assigned to the case have accused Paxton, who was a state lawmaker at the time, of not disclosing to investors that he was being paid to recruit them.
If convicted, Paxton faces five to 99 years in prison.