Texas man at center of attorney general Paxton’s impeachment faces federal charges

By Brad Brooks

(Reuters) – Federal prosecutors on Friday leveled charges of making false statements to financial institutions against a real estate developer who is at the center of allegations that led to the impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

A grand jury indicted Nate Paul, 36, on eight counts of making false statements to lenders based in Texas, New York, Connecticut and Ireland to obtain $172 million in real estate loans in 2017 and 2018.

Paul, who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday and jailed overnight, briefly appeared before a federal judge in Austin on Friday. He did not enter a plea and was allowed to go free on bond. He is scheduled for a June 15 arraignment. His attorney, Gerry Morris, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Paxton was not mentioned in Paul’s indictment and Morris told reporters after the hearing that the case against his client did not involve Paxton.

Paxton, a supporter of former President Donald Trump whose lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results was tossed out by the Supreme Court, was impeached by state legislators on May 27 and temporarily suspended from office pending his trial in the Senate.

The articles of impeachment against him accuse Paxton of having employees of the attorney general’s office intervene in a lawsuit against Paul, of helping the developer obtain information about the FBI investigation against him, and of providing legal favors to Paul in exchange for his renovating Paxton’s home.

Paxton, 60, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Aside from his impeachment, he is under a separate corruption investigation by the Justice Department, according to the special prosecutors in Texas leading his state case.

The Texas Senate will try Paxton on the 20 articles of impeachment lodged against him on or before Aug. 28.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Daniel Wallis)