Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton Quashes Subpoenas He Apparently Ran From on Monday

Texas' Republican Attorney General says he ran because an unidentified strange man yelled, charged at him outside his home; a process server says he called the attorney general by name after leaving a business card

NBC 5 News

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton quashed a subpoena Tuesday that apparently caused him to run from his home Monday morning as a process server tried to deliver the documents that would have compelled him to testify in an abortion access case.

According to a "Return of Service" filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Austin and obtained by NBC 5, process server Ernesto Martin Herrera wrote in the court filing that he left two subpoenas for Ken Paxton on the ground at his McKinney home on Monday morning after the state's top attorney ran from his garage and into an SUV driven by his wife, Republican Texas Sen. Angela Paxton.

The subpoenas ordered Paxton to appear and testify in a civil lawsuit in which multiple Texas-based nonprofits want to resume helping pregnant residents obtain abortions in other states.

After waiting outside the AG's home for more than an hour, Herrera said the Paxtons drove away without taking the documents. Hererra wrote he ended up leaving the documents on the ground by the couple's home.

On Tuesday Paxton said on Twitter he avoided the man out of safety concerns and said the news media should be ashamed for reporting on what happened.

"It's clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as attorney general, so they're attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family," Paxton wrote on Twitter Monday night.

Tuesday morning, Federal Judge Robert Pitman granted a motion to quash the subpoena for Paxton's testimony after the attorney general argued that the subpoenas had not been effectively served and neither of them was proper. In his filing, Paxton said none of the requisites for forcing him to testify had been satisfied and that as a high-ranking government official he was not subject to their subpoena.

Paxton, in a statement released by his reelection campaign Tuesday, said "a strange man came onto my property at home, yelled unintelligibly, and charged toward me. I perceived this person to be a threat because he was neither honest nor upfront about his intentions."

Herrera in his court filing said he knocked on the door and that Paxton's wife answered. He said the attorney general left the room when he saw him at the door and that he told the general's wife that he had "important legal documents" to deliver. After the senator said her husband was in a hurry and on the phone, Herrera said he left his business card with her and returned to his car.

About 50 minutes later, at 9:20 a.m., Herrera said a black SUV arrived at the Paxton's home and backed into the driveway. At 9:40 a.m., Herrera said Paxton walked out of the garage and when he approached him and called him by name the attorney general turned around and ran back into the house.

Herrera said that at 9:47 a.m. Paxton's wife came out and got in the truck, leaving a door open. He said Paxton ran from the home and jumped in the truck.

"I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck," Herrera said in the filing. "After determining that Mr. Paxton was not going to take the subpoenas from my hand, I stated that I was serving him with legal documents and was leaving them on the ground where he could get them."

In his statement Tuesday, the attorney general said he and his wife were "accosted" by the man and that he perceived him as a threat "because he was neither honest nor upfront about his intentions."

Paxton said because of constant threats against him he "takes a number of common sense precautions" when at home and that "given that this suspicious and erratic man charged me on my private property, he is lucky this situation did not escalate further or necessitate force."

In a pair of tweets sent late Monday night, Paxton said he ran back into the home out of concern for his family and he then attacked the media for reporting on the affidavit, without denying the substance of the document.

"This is a ridiculous waste of time and the media should be ashamed of themselves," Paxton tweeted in response to a Texas Tribune article.

Paxton was also granted a motion to seal two of the filings that contained his address, saying that public disclosure of the attorney general's home address put his family at risk. The filings, which were also obtained by NBC 5, had been publicly accessible for several hours.

Paxton was indicted in 2015 on state securities fraud charges but is yet to face trial amid long delays over where the felony case should be heard and payment for the special prosecutors. The FBI is investigating Paxton over allegations of corruption that eight of Paxton's own deputies leveled at him two years ago.

The Texas state bar has also brought a lawsuit seeking to discipline Paxton for allegedly misleading the U.S. Supreme Court in his suit seeking to challenge Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

Paxton has broadly denied wrongdoing and remained popular among GOP voters. He faces Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza, a first-time candidate and former ACLU attorney, in the November election.

"Texans deserve an AG who will uphold the law, not run from it," Garza wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

Copyright NBC 5, CNBC and the Associated Press.
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