State Government

Lawyer hired to investigate enemies of Texas AG's friend was misled and never paid, he testifies

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AP Paxton impeachment trial Sept 2023

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sits between his attorneys Tony Buzbee, front, and Dan Cogdell, rear, as the articles of his impeachment are read during the his impeachment trial in the Texas Senate chamber at the Texas Capitol on Sept. 5 in Austin, Texas. Photo by Eric Gay/The Associated Press.

A Houston lawyer hired by suspended Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to investigate conspiracy claims by Paxton’s developer friend has said he was misled and never paid for his work.

Lawyer Brandon Cammack testified Tuesday in Paxton’s impeachment trial, report the Associated Press, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Hill, the Texas Tribune and the Texas Monthly.

Paxton has been accused of hiring Cammack to investigate complaints by developer and Paxton donor Nate Paul. One complaint concerned a search of Paul’s home and business that Paul thought was based on an altered search warrant, according to the Texas Tribune. Another concerned allegations that Paul was the subject of a wide-ranging fraud scheme by business people who conspired to obtain loans on Paul’s properties and force them into foreclosure.

The impeachment articles allege that Paxton misused his office to benefit Paul, who allegedly provided renovations to Paxton’s home and hired a woman with whom Paxton was having an affair.

Cammack was only five years out of law school when he got the call from Paxton in 2020. Paxton said he wanted to hire Cammack as a “special prosecutor” for a criminal investigation. Cammack was excited and flattered.

Cammack took the job. He reported directly to Paxton, who communicated using encrypted communications through Proton Mail and the Signal messaging service, Cammack testified.

Cammack issued subpoenas to a list of people supplied by Paul’s lawyer. Cammack said he was unaware that some of the people receiving subpoenas were opposing counsel in Paul’s civil litigation.

According to the Texas Tribune, those who got subpoenas included banks that loaned money to Paul’s businesses, federal court staff members, police officers, the head of a charity that sued him, the charity’s lawyer and the wife of the charity’s lawyer.

Cammack later got cease-and-desist letters telling him to stop the investigation. They were written by senior Paxton staff members who were whistleblowers.

In a later Starbucks meeting with Paxton and a top aide, Cammack was told that he was fired, and he wouldn’t be paid for his work. After leaving Starbucks, Paxton and his aide got in the car, potentially leaving Cammack stranded, according to the Texas Monthly.

“Paxton tried to drive off, but I told him I needed a ride back to my car,” Cammack testified.

The Hill reported on Cammack’s recollections of what he told Paxton: “You guys reached out to me to go and do a job, and then, now you’re pulling the rug out from under me, and I’m getting these cease-and-desist letters, and now my name is being thrown through the mud in the media, and this is a totally new world to me.”

See also:

“Paxton not fit to be Texas AG, prosecutor says; impeachment trial starts after Senate allows charges”

“Paxton’s former top aide wonders whether he had been blackmailed, aide testifies in impeachment trial”

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