Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Reaches Deal to Avoid Criminal Trial

Nearly nine years after his indictment on charges of felony security fraud, Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, reached a deal with prosecutors on Tuesday to avoid a criminal trial that had been set to begin next month.

The deal, announced by the prosecutors and lawyers for Mr. Paxton during a hearing in Houston, does not involve any admission of guilt but requires Mr. Paxton to pay nearly $300,000 in restitution, take legal ethics classes and perform 100 hours of community service.

At the hearing, the judge in the case, Andrea Beall, asked questions but observed that the agreement had been made between the parties and the court could not block it.

“No judge can force a prosecutor to present evidence or call witnesses,” Judge Beall said. “This court does not have any say in this contract,” she added, before asking Mr. Paxton, who sat silently in the courtroom, if the signature on the document was his.

“Yes it is,” Mr. Paxton replied.

For Mr. Paxton, a three-term Republican incumbent, the agreement amounted to another victory over opponents who have long hoped that his legal troubles would lead to his political undoing. Last year, Mr. Paxton survived an impeachment by fellow Republicans in the Texas House over separate accusations of corruption and abuse of power made by his former top aides at the attorney general’s office.

A lawyer for Mr. Paxton, Dan Cogdell, said on Tuesday that the attorney general was glad to put the securities fraud case behind him. He underscored that the agreement was not a “plea bargain” and did not represent any admission of wrongdoing on Mr. Paxton’s part.

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