Judge Explains Why He Ordered Paxton Mugshot With No Towel

Critics say attorney general got preferential treatment

The judge presiding over the case of Attorney General Ken Paxton says he ordered the Collin County Sheriff’s office to take Paxton’s mugshot without a white towel around his neck to ensure his right to a fair trial.

In an order signed on Monday and released on Tuesday, Judge George Gallagher said he issued the unusual order because of the “high-profile nature of this case and the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

The document is titled “Court’s order regarding jail photo.”

Gallagher said he was "made aware" of Collin County's policy -- presumably by Paxton's attorneys, who preferred he appear in a coat and tie. 

Collin County has a policy of taking inmates’ mugshots with white towels around their necks to avoid showing their clothing.

When Paxton’s mugshot was released, critics immediately questioned why he was not wearing a towel and accused officials of giving Paxton preferential treatment.

Gallagher, a Tarrant County District Judge since 2000, has presided over a number of high-profile trials, including the so-called “black widow” murder case of a Keller woman, Michele Williams, who was convicted of murdering her husband several years ago.

Gallagher was assigned to handle Paxton’s case after Collin County Judge Chris Oldner recused himself after the indictments were issued. It is not clear why that judge stepped aside.

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Court Order on Paxton (Text)
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