The belief that the 2020 election was a fraud, despite the lack of evidence, has persisted among Republicans nationwide, greatly encouraged by Trump. One of the highest-profile lawyers to face professional backfire over their role in Trump’s efforts to invalidate his defeat is Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton.
Paxton, who came the closest of any state GOP officeholder to losing in 2018, sued in December to overturn Donald Trump’s loss. Despite being told by experts across the country that the lawsuit was completely meritless.
The suit was quickly tossed out by the high court, which ruled that Texas did not have the standing to sue other states over their elections.
The Houston Chronicle reported that there are newly uncovered emails of top lawyers from Florida’s attorney general’s office that demonstrate disbelief and ridicule Paxton’s actions.
“Bats—t insane,” wrote the state’s senior deputy solicitor general, Christopher Baum.
Baum also recounted a colleague’s theory: “Perhaps this is Paxton’s request for a pardon,” a reference to the criminal indictment for securities fraud that has hung for more than six years over Paxton, the top law enforcement official in Texas.
Although Paxton was never granted a pardon, his election to take up the suit pleased Trump who gave Paxton an early endorsement in his re-election bid.
The emails were exposed by Austin Evers, executive director of American oversight, who criticized the Florida attorney general’s office for continuing the suit even after high-ranking staff questioned its legal basis.
“The Office of the Florida Attorney General joined in an unprecedented and dangerous effort to overturn the 2020 election despite knowing the legal arguments were baseless,” Evers said.
The suit has since landed Paxton under investigation by the Texas Bar Association due to complaints from members of the Democratic Party, who state that Paxton’s petition to overturn the 2020 presidential election was bogus and unethical.
Apart from being accused of professional misconduct, Paxton recently suffered another legal blow. As reported by the Texas Tribune, four former employees claim their firings were a counterattack after they reported him to federal law enforcement for alleged bribery and other corruption crimes.
Paxton argued that since he was an elected official the whistleblower allegations did not apply to him. Despite the attorney general’s protestations, he is not above the law. A Texas appellate court tossed Paxton’s motion to dismiss and ruled the employees deserved whistleblower protections under state law.
The two-term Republican has denied wrongdoing in all cases.
The emails also drew criticism from Kevin Moran, president of the Galveston Island Democrats, who filed one of the four complaints against Paxton. He said the emails lend credence to his contention that Paxton should have known better than to file the suit and waste taxpayer dollars.
Another top lawyer, Florida’s chief deputy solicitor general James Percival, questioned how Texas had standing.
“What’s the theory for how one state has standing to allege Bush v. Gore violations against another state …?” he asked, referencing the 2000 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a Florida recount and handed the election to George W. Bush.