New judge named in Texas attorney general’s criminal case

Ken Paxton in an interview with KXAN's Phil Prazan (KXAN Photo)
Ken Paxton in an interview with KXAN's Phil Prazan (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (AP) — The new judge assigned to oversee the felony securities fraud case against Texas’ attorney general is a Houston Democrat who defeated the son of the state’s lieutenant governor to win his seat on the bench.

Harris County Judge Robert Johnson was randomly assigned the case against Republican Ken Paxton on Tuesday.

Paxton is accused of defrauding wealthy investors in a tech startup.

State District Judge George Gallagher previously ruled that prosecutors couldn’t get a fair trial in Paxton’s hometown near Dallas, and moved the case to Houston. Paxton’s attorneys then successfully had Gallagher removed, arguing he lacked authority to preside over cases outside his home county.

That shifted the proceedings to Johnson, who was elected in November. He defeated Republican incumbent Ryan Patrick, son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.