Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Faces Deeper FBI Scrutiny After Details From Ex-Aides

The FBI is reportedly widening its investigation into Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after new details in claims by former staffers that he helped a real estate developer in return for renovations to his million-dollar home and a job for his alleged mistress.

Last fall, a number of senior staffers accused Texas's highest-ranking attorney of committing crimes to assist Nate Paul, later alleging that the developer or companies owned by him had a hand in work done on Paxton's home.

All of those making accusations quit or were fired; four later sued the attorney general under the state's whistleblower law. The latest details have emerged in an updated court complaint filed Thursday.

The lawsuit accuses Paxton of abusing his position to help Paul and claims the former deputies have information to suggest Paul "was involved in" the remodelling of a house in an affluent area of Austin, owned by Paxton.

It also claims Paul employed the attorney general's alleged mistress as a construction project manager. Paul gave $25,000 to Paxton's 2018 reelection campaign.

At least one Austin contractor has received a subpoena for records—including receipts, invoices and communications—relating to work on Paxton's home, according to Associated Press. The subpoena calls for the contractor to testify before a grand jury.

Paxton's spokesman denied he acted illegally.

"Any accusations that the Attorney General acted contrary to the law are completely false and they will be proven false in court," Ian Prior said in a statement.

According to reports last year, Paxton intervened at least four times on a range of legal matters involving or helpful to Paul.

On one occasion, top agency attorneys allegedly pushed a charity to agree to a greatly reduced settlement in a financial dispute with a company owned by Paul.

The lawyer for the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Foundation said at the time it seemed Paxton's office was representing Paul, while reports called the attorney general's level of involvement "highly unusual and potentially unethical."

Several of Paxton's top staff reported him to law enforcement for alleged abuse of office and bribery in fall 2020. Paxton fired a number of the employees, leading them to file a lawsuit.

"Plaintiffs reasonably believed Paxton's bizarre abuse of his office was the result of bribery," the filing states, labelling Paxton's actions an "obsessive use of the power of his office."

If the former deputies win their case, the state could have to pay out sums in excess of a million dollars in fees, damages and lost pay and benefits.

The attorney general has spent most of his time in office under felony indictment. He faces securities fraud charges relating to his time as a state legislator, for which he was indicted in 2015 but has not yet faced trial. He has pleaded not guilty.

Newsweek contacted both Paxton and Paul's attorneys, and the FBI for comment. Paxton's lawyer said: "No comment at this time."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in Washington
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks as Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine (L) listens at a news conference in front of the Supreme Court September 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. Paxton is under investigation by the FBI for claims he received renovations to his home in return for political favors. Alex Wong/Getty