Paxton — a Republican who's facing state securities fraud charges and reportedly is under FBI investigation for bribery — allegedly hauled ass on foot twice to get away from the individual serving him the subpoenas, according to an affidavit first reported on by the Texas Tribune.
The documents were related to a lawsuit over the state's abortion ban, according to the affidavit. As the state's top attorney, it stands to reason that Paxton is served with subpoenas — or demands for someone to testify in a court case — with some frequency.
According to the affidavit, process server Ernesto Martin Herrera knocked on the door of Paxton's suburban Dallas home and was greeted by a woman who appeared to be Texas Sen. Angela Paxton, the attorney general's wife.
Angela Paxton reportedly told Herrera the AG was on the phone and unable to come to the door, so the server left his card and waited in his vehicle. Around an hour later, a black Chevrolet Tahoe cruised into the home's driveway and Ken Paxton exited the house.
“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name,” Herrera said in his affidavit. “As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage.”
After that, Angela Paxton left the house and hopped into a Chevy truck in the driveway, firing the ignition, according to the affidavit. Moments later, Paxton allegedly hauled ass.
“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” according to Herrera. “I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck.”
Herrera put the subpoenas on the ground and told Paxton he was being served, the affidavit states. Both vehicles drove away without anyone retrieving the legal documents.
After the Tribune tweeted out a link to its story, Paxton responded by claiming that he bravely turned tail and fled because he was terrified for his family's safety. He also played the victim card, claiming the media "should be ashamed of themselves" since conservatives "all across the country" have faced threats to their safety.
"It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family," Paxton added.
It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family.— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 27, 2022
Democratic Attorney General nominee Rochelle Garza wasted no time in sending out a written statement accusing Paxton of being too chickenshit to uphold one of the most basic duties of his job.
“Texans already knew about Ken Paxton’s corruption, but now we know about his cowardice and utter contempt for basic legal processes," Garza said. "Paxton has been running from his felony indictments, his FBI investigation for bribery and now he is literally running from being served a subpoena — his most basic legal obligation as attorney general — and with his wife, a Texas state senator, driving the getaway car."
She added: “Beyond being an embarrassment to Texans, his extremism is dangerous for women and for our families. I’m running for attorney general to root out corruption and restore integrity to the office of the AG.”
In an emailed statement, the Democratic Attorneys General Association noted that AG's are regularly served subpoenas as part of their job ("totally normal stuff!") and suggested a shopping list for Paxton, including running shoes, sweatbands and a portable AM/FM radio.
"Texans deserve an Attorney General who isn’t running from the law," the statement concludes.
Meanwhile, the Twittersphere is awash in mockery for Paxton with one of its most scathing putdowns coming from Daily Kos staffer Jennifer Hayden.
"You were so afraid of the 'stranger' you sent your wife out to get the car?" she responded to Paxton's tweet.
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You were so afraid of the “stranger” you sent your wife out to get the car?— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) September 27, 2022