Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton chose to play with fire and might have crossed an ethical line after he asked his supporters to pressure The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals into overturning the ruling that ended his capacity to prosecute election law violations.
The state’s top lawyer had previously requested The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse the 8-1 ruling that struck down the law that gave his office power to investigate and prosecute election fraud, as reported by Austin American-Statesman.
After being rejected, Paxton turned to media outlets to solicit his followers’ help.
First, Paxton appeared on Lindell TV, an online forum by MyPillow Ceo and Mike Lindell on Jan. 17, there told the viewers to “Contact the Court of Criminal Appeals.”
“Call them out by name,” Paxton continued. “I mean, you can look them up. There’s eight of them that voted the wrong way. Call them, send mail, send email.”
Afterward, Paxton went on “War Room” with Steve Bannon – the former chief strategist in the Trump White House. Where the Attorney once again asked the viewers to call out the elected state judges.
In doing so, Paxton might have crossed a very serious ethical line. According to Vincent Johnson, a law professor at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas rules governing conduct for judges and lawyers place strict limits on the contact attorneys can have with judges outside of court. Lawyers are also prohibited from soliciting others to speak to judges on their behalf about a case.
The public did indeed respond and hit the Court of Criminal Appeals with a wave of phone calls and emails – including one threatening message that was forwarded to law enforcement, as reported by Austin American-Statesman.
Several of the emails threatened the judges with political repercussions, and some spoke of fear the court’s ruling would diminish the fight against fraud election.