GOP Texas AG Agrees To Apologize And Pay Corruption Whistleblowers $3.3 Million Settlement In State Funds

The Texas Tribune reports:

Attorney General Ken Paxton and four of his former top deputies who said he improperly fired them after they accused him of crimes have reached a tentative agreement to end a whistleblower lawsuit that would pay those employees $3.3 million dollars. In a filing on Friday, attorneys for Paxton and the whistleblowers asked the Texas Supreme Court to further defer consideration of the whistleblower case until the two sides can finalize the tentative agreement.

Paxton, a Republican who won a third four-year term in November, said in a statement that he agreed to the settlement to save taxpayer money and start his new term unencumbered by the accusations. The settlement, once finalized, also will include a statement from Paxton saying he “accepts that plaintiffs acted in a manner that they thought was right and apologizes for referring to them as ‘rogue employees.’”

Dallas’s CBS affiliate reports:

The payout would not come from Paxton’s own pocket but from state funds, which means it would still require approval by the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature. Settlement of the case, which Paxton’s office fought in court for years, means he will avoid sitting for a civil deposition at a time when a corruption investigation by federal agents and prosecutors remains open.

In turn, the attorney general’s office agreed to remove an October 2020 news release from its website that decries Paxton’s accusers and to issue the statement of contrition to former staffers David Maxwell, Ryan Vassar, Mark Penley and James Blake Brickman.

The deal comes more than two years after Paxton’s staff accused him of misusing his office to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, whose business was also under federal investigation.