Texas Businessman Linked to Impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton Faces Federal Court Appearance Following FBI Arrest
Texas businessman linked to Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment faces court after FBI arrest. Explore the scandal and its implications.
In a significant development, a Texas businessman who played a central role in the scandal leading to the historic impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court. The individual in question, Nate Paul, 36, was apprehended by the FBI and subsequently taken into custody at an Austin jail on Thursday, as confirmed by records from the Travis County Sheriff's Office. While the specific charges leading to his arrest have not been disclosed by federal prosecutors, it is evident from the records that he is being held on a federal detainer relating to a felony offense.
The arrest of Nate Paul, an influential real estate developer based in Austin, follows a lengthy federal investigation that was triggered by the involvement of Attorney General Ken Paxton. This investigation set off a series of events that ultimately led to Paxton's impeachment and subsequent suspension from office last month.
David Gerger, the attorney representing Nate Paul, mentioned that his client might provide comments subsequent to his upcoming court appearance. On the other hand, Dan Cogdell, one of Paxton's defense attorneys, stated that he does not have any additional information regarding Paul's arrest at this time.
In 2019, the FBI conducted searches at Nate Paul's offices in Austin and his luxurious residence as part of an investigation into his troubled real estate empire. The following year, eight high-ranking deputies of Attorney General Ken Paxton reported Paxton to the FBI, accusing him of bribery and abuse of office. These allegations stemmed from Paxton's decision to hire an external lawyer to probe Nate Paul's claims of misconduct by federal agents.
The allegations made by Paxton's deputies subsequently prompted an ongoing FBI investigation, which became the foundation for the twenty articles of impeachment passed by the Texas House of Representatives, predominantly controlled by the Republican Party. These articles encompass charges of abuse of public trust, unfitness for office, and bribery.
As per the impeachment charges, Paxton stands accused of leveraging his position to assist Nate Paul in making unsubstantiated claims of an intricate conspiracy to embezzle properties worth $200 million. The bribery allegations assert that in return for his assistance, Paul employed a woman with whom Paxton had an extramarital affair and financed expensive renovations at the attorney general's million-dollar Austin residence.
Paxton's legal team recently attempted to counter the latter allegation by releasing a bank statement showing a wire transfer of over $120,000, purportedly made by Paxton himself for home renovations in 2020. However, this document raised further questions regarding the nature of the relationship between the two individuals.
Significantly, the wire transfer bears the date of October 1, 2020, which coincides with the day Paxton's deputies informed the head of human resources at the Texas attorney general's office about their report to the FBI. Furthermore, the payment was made to Cupertino Builders, a company associated with Paul and previously implicated in fraudulent transfers, as revealed by state corporation and court records.
Over the years, Nate Paul has been entangled in numerous lawsuits filed by creditors and business partners, leading to bankruptcies and court-appointed oversight for several of his companies. A receiver's report from last year explicitly implicated Cupertino Builders in fraudulent transfers from Paul's business.
Nate Paul vehemently denies allegations of bribing Ken Paxton, and the attorney general himself has consistently professed his innocence, expressing confidence in being acquitted during his forthcoming impeachment trial in the state Senate, where his wife holds a position.
The state Senate, tasked with conducting the impeachment trial, will establish its own rules for this unprecedented proceeding, as Ken Paxton becomes only the third sitting official in the history of Texas to face impeachment. The trial is expected to commence no later than August 28. In a separate matter, Paxton continues to face securities fraud charges dating back to 2015, although no trial date has been set as of yet.