HOUSTON (AP) — A judge on Friday rejected Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ‘s attempts to throw out felony securities fraud charges that have shadowed the Republican for nearly a decade.

The decision by state District Judge Andrea Beall, an elected Democrat, keeps Paxton on track to stand trial in April on charges that he duped investors in a tech startup. If convicted, Paxton faces up to 99 years in prison.

Paxton, who has pleaded not guilty, appeared in the Houston courtroom for the hearing, sitting at the defense table with his attorneys. He did not address the court as his legal team argued that a long trial delay since he was first indicted in 2015 violated his right to a speedy trial.

The case has been delayed for years with pretrial disputes over whether to hold the trial in the Dallas are or Houston, and payment for the state’s special prosecutors. Prosecutors argued that most of the delays were caused by Paxton and his attorneys.

The criminal charges are among the myriad legal troubles that have long dogged Paxton over his three terms as one of the nation’s highest-profile state attorneys general. He was acquitted last year during a historic impeachment trial in the Texas Senate over accusations that he misused his office to help a wealthy donor.

Paxton is charged with defrauding investors in a Dallas-area tech company called Servergy by not disclosing that he was being paid by the company to recruit them.

The 61-year-old Paxton has shown remarkable political resilience, maintaining and growing strong support among GOP activists on the state and national level, including from former President Donald Trump. Paxton has twice been elected to statewide office since the 2015 indictment.

Paxton still faces legal troubles. A federal investigation has been probing some of the same charges presented in his impeachment.

He is also fighting efforts by former top aides to make him testify in a whistleblower civil lawsuit that also includes allegations central to the impeachment.


Jim Vertuno contributed from Austin

More about: