The 4 males behind the whistleblower lawsuit that put Texas Legal professional Normal Ken Paxton in political jeopardy had been as soon as associates and allies Mr. Paxton handpicked to advance his conservative agenda.
The 4 staffers – James Blake Brickman, David Maxwell, Mark Penley and Ryan Vassar – joined forces once they determined the actions they noticed surrounding Mr Paxton had been too disturbing to let stand.
They filed the whistleblower lawsuit in 2020 after Mr Paxton ignored their repeated expressions of concern. In keeping with the 372-page file detailing their allegations, altercations broke out between the 4 associates and Mr. Paxton after the FBI raided the house of Nate Paul, a rich Austin actual property investor and donor to Mr. Paxton, in 2019. Mr Paul was satisfied that the authorities had acted unlawfully and enlisted Mr Paxton’s help.
Within the lawsuit, the 4 males allege that Mr Paxton not solely used his affect to arrange and attend a gathering for Mr Paul and his lawyer with workers from the native district lawyer’s workplace, but in addition employed a non-public lawyer to go looking in Mr deal with Paul’s considerations.
The 4 mentioned within the grievance that they believed Mr. Paxton “violated Texas legal regulation, together with however not restricted to the statutes referring to bribery, undue affect and abuse of workplace.”
Mr Paxton, authorized paperwork state, “has blatantly damaged the regulation and seems to consider he’s above the regulation, which he promotes on his personal web site.”
Mr Paxton responded by suspending and later firing her.
Earlier within the yr, Mr Paxton mentioned he had reached an settlement with them. However extra bother ensued when he requested the state to pay them $3.3 million in compensation, prompting a Texas Home committee investigating his actions to carry an impeachment vote scheduled by Mr Paxton for Saturday afternoon.
Throughout a information convention on Friday, Mr Paxton known as the hassle to question him “unlawful” and “political theatre”, including that he had not been given a chance to contest the allegations towards him.
He additionally mentioned he was assured requires his impeachment wouldn’t succeed. “I hope the Home makes the best choice, but when not, I look ahead to a fast decision within the Texas Senate,” he mentioned.
These are the 4 whistleblowers.
James Blake Brickman
In keeping with authorized paperwork, Mr. Brickman served as Assistant Legal professional Normal for Political and Strategic Initiatives from February 2020 till his dismissal on October 20, 2020. The submitting states that Mr Brickman and Mr Paxton had an excellent working relationship earlier than the scandals got here to gentle and that Mr Brickman moved to Austin together with his spouse and three youngsters at Mr Paxton’s request to work with him. The submitting alleges that months earlier than Mr Brickman started voicing his considerations about Mr Paxton’s conduct, the Legal professional Normal repeatedly praised his work and as soon as known as him an “superb asset” to his workplace.
However after workers questioned efforts to assist Mr. Paul, the connection deteriorated, the filings say. Mr. Brickman has been requested to retire from necessary conferences. That transfer, he mentioned in court docket paperwork, was aimed toward “limiting Brickman’s duties and duties to punish, punish, intimidate, embarrass or humiliate him.”
Earlier than becoming a member of Mr. Paxton, Mr. Brickman was Chief of Workers to former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican. He was additionally chief of workers to former Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, additionally a Republican.
For ten years, Mr. Maxwell led a staff of roughly 350 associates on the Texas Legal professional Normal’s Workplace, the place he served as deputy director and director of the regulation enforcement division. The lawsuit alleges that Mr. Maxwell got here into battle with Mr. Paxton upon studying of Mr. Paxton’s try and intrude within the federal investigation into Mr. Paul. Within the lawsuit, which he filed with different whistleblowers, Mr Maxwell and Mark Penley alleged that “a lot of Paul’s grievances fell outdoors of state jurisdiction”.
In his court docket filings, Mr Maxwell described himself as an “trustworthy, thorough and rigorous investigator in regulation enforcement”. His regulation enforcement profession spanned about 50 years, in line with authorized paperwork, together with 35 years with the Texas Division of Public Security, most of it as a Texas Ranger.
Mr. Maxwell can also be identified in Texas for serving to to establish the person who raped and fatally stabbed his sister, Diane Maxwell Jackson, many years after the crime in 1969. A decide sentenced her killer to life imprisonment in 2004.
Mr. Penley served as Assistant Legal professional Normal for Prison Justice below Mr. Paxton for simply over a yr, from October 8, 2019 to November 2, 2020. Throughout that point, he managed a staff of about 220 workers in numerous departments, together with regulation enforcement, particular enforcement, legal justice, and crime sufferer providers, in line with court docket data. Mr. Penley, a retired federal prosecutor, has practiced regulation for almost 40 years.
Mr Penley additionally got here into battle with Mr Paxton on a number of events when Mr Paxton assisted Mr Paul in coping with his authorized issues. In keeping with the lawsuit, Mr Penley as soon as refused to signal a memo authorizing the hiring of the particular prosecutor in control of the raid on Mr Paul’s properties.
Till the top of 2020, Mr. Vassar served as Assistant Legal professional Normal as Authorized Counsel for the Legal professional Normal’s Workplace. He was the newest of 4 former workers from Mr Paxton’s workplace to be fired after corruption allegations towards Mr Paxton surfaced. Mr Vassar mentioned within the lawsuit that he had turned down many requests from his former boss to assist find data that might assist Mr Paul.
Mr. Vassar had an extended authorized profession in Texas earlier than the scandal broke. In keeping with the institute’s web site, he most just lately accepted a place as basic counsel on the Cicero Institute, a nonprofit public coverage group. For 3 years, Mr. Vassar served as clerk for Justice Don R. Willett of the Texas Supreme Courtroom. He graduated from Texas Tech College with a level in accounting and from South Texas Faculty of Regulation Houston with a regulation diploma.