Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's trial for failing to register as a securities agent is moving to Houston. On Tuesday morning, Judge George Gallagher issued a statement confirming that the trial would be moved out of Collin County, where Paxton lives, due to the jury pool's potentially being tainted by pre-trial publicity.
“Harris County was selected because the lead counsel for the state and the defense are located there. Harris County also has the facilities to accommodate the trial,” Gallagher said.
Two weeks ago, the special prosecutors trying Paxton pushed Gallagher for the switch. They pointed to a mailer for a 2013 fundraiser for Paxton's hotly contested 2014 primary campaign for attorney general. That mailer featured several of Collin County's prominent officials as hosts as proof that public opinion in the county is biased in Paxton's favor.
Paxton's defense team dismissed the flier as "an invitation to a run of the mill political fundraiser, held over three years ago and long before the Special Prosecutors were appointed." The flier, they said "provides no support for transferring venue or continuing this case."
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Gallagher dismissed the defense's claims and ordered the change of venue on March 30. Paxton's trial, originally scheduled to begin May 1, is delayed, pending scheduling in Harris County.