Voters Toss Judge Who Launched Paxton Prosecution

At their first opportunity, Collin County taxpayers threw out of office the judge who originally launched the political prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In the Republican primary for 219th Judicial District Court Judge, Collin County attorney Jennifer Edgeworth defeated incumbent Judge Scott Becker with 50.82% of the vote, compared to Becker’s 25.31%. Two other challengers garnered 16.19% and 7.68% of the vote respectively.

Edgeworth was endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

A major issue in the race for Collin County grassroots voters was Becker’s role in launching a baseless prosecution for securities fraud against Paxton. That prosecution has been roundly condemned as illegitimate and described as a political attack by numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal.

The prosecution was an attempt to delegitimize and destabilize Paxton after he won the Attorney General’s seat in an upset in 2014. It has so far failed, however, as Paxton was able to avoid a primary challenger in his race for re-election and recently saw his wife Angela Paxton secure the Republican nomination for the Texas Senate.

Despite the prosecution and a barrage of media attacks, Paxton remains popular with voters in his home county.

Beyond the noxious motives of the actors who launched it and the vicious toll it has taken on Paxton’s family, Collin County taxpayers have been outraged at the cost of the case.

The prosecution was launched in 2015 when Becker, in an illegal, back-room, handshake deal, appointed two criminal defense lawyers from Houston to investigate Paxton, agreeing to pay them $300 per hour for all work related to the case. That has resulted in bills in excess of half a million dollars.

Payments to the special prosecutors were halted last year by the Dallas Court of Appeals who labeled Becker’s agreement illegal. However, the special prosecutors are appealing to the Court of Criminal Appeals to have the funding reinstated.

It is long past time for the Texas judiciary to put a final end to the corrupt Paxton prosecution. In the meantime, voters can and should continue to hold every elected official who has participated in this miscarriage of justice personally and politically responsible for their role in abusing the Texas criminal justice system.

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Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel for Empower Texans. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony received his J.D. in 2012 from UT Law School. While in school, Tony served as Senior Vice Chairman for Young Conservatives of Texas and helped manage its legislative affairs. During the 83rd Texas Legislature he served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Jonathan Stickland. Tony resides in Austin and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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