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Texas lawmaker stonewalls demand to detail his part in Jan 6 Capitol Hill insurrection

Ken Paxton whipped up the mob on January 6, 2021, now he's leaving probers in the dark. Photo: Paxton.com
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While Ivanka Trump battles investigators keen to learn her part in the January 6, 2021, assault by extreme right-wing rioters on the US Congress, a leading Texas lawmaker is also ignoring probers’ demands that he reveal his involvement in the insurrection

Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton appeared at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the assault on the US Capitol and endorsed the wild conspiracy theory that Joe Biden is not a legitimately elected president.

Last week, the Travis County district attorney’s office set a four-day deadline for Paxton to turn over the records involving the rally or face a lawsuit accusing him of violating open records laws.

But in a letter to the district attorney on Friday, his office denied any violations and rejected the office’s demands out of hand.

The Texas Tribune was the first to report Paxton’s refusal. A message to the district attorney’s office seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

Paxton and his wife, state senator Angela Paxton, appeared at the event in Washington DC, where he gave a speech touting his failed legal push to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Several news organisations have requested Paxton’s communications from around that time under the Texas Public Information Act.

Last March, six news outlets jointly published a story raising questions about whether Paxton was breaking open records laws.

Earlier this month, top editors at five Texas newspapers — the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News — filed a complaint asking the district attorney to investigate the alleged violations.

Bribery and abuse

Paxton faces several GOP challengers in his re-election bid this year.

In 2020, eight of Paxton’s top deputies accused him of bribery, abuse of office and other crimes in the service of another supporter, an Austin real estate developer who employs a woman with whom the attorney-general allegedly had an extra-marital affair.

The FBI is investigating those allegations.

Paxton has also spent most of his time in office under a separate felony indictment. He pleaded not guilty in 2015 to three state securities fraud charges but is yet to face trial.

-with AAP