Texas Attorney General ordered to release records of his role in the Jan. 6 rally

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, has been ordered to release documents and communications regarding his participation in the demonstration last year, which preceded the January 6 storm of the U.S. capital.

The office of Travis County District Attorney José Garza gave Paxton in a letter Thursday four days to pass on the information and informed him that he was violating the state law on public records. If he fails to comply with the order, Garza will sue Paxton and the Office of the Attorney General, the letter warned.

The DA’s office took action after the editors of the five largest newspapers in the state complained that Paxton was illegally withholding the information.

Under the Texas Public Information Act, the public has the right to public records even if they are stored on personal devices, such as a cell phone or on an official’s online account. Paxton is believed to be the one responsible for getting certain officials to comply with the Open Registers Act.

Paxton’s office has blocked the publication of all emails and text messages sent on January 6, 2021 and the days before and after the uprising, claiming a lawyer-client privilege, apparently regarding various investigations against Paxton.

The U.S. House Committee of Inquiry investigating the Capitol riot also seeks Paxton’s communication with the Trump administration regarding the events of January 6th.

Paxton has been a leading advocate of the baseless allegation of a false presidential election against Trump, and he joined a failed lawsuit to block the legitimate election of President Joe Biden.

Paxton and his wife, Republican Senator Angela McKinney, both attended the January 6 demonstration, in which Trump told his supporters to march toward the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Paxton gave a speech at the demonstration, urging Trump supporters to do so never “stop fighting”.

This is not the first time Paxton has been in trouble in office. He is also under federal investigation for allegedly abusing his office to help a campaign donor. Whistleblowers in that case are suing Paxton for their subsequent dismissal from their state jobs. Paxton is also fighting against one criminal indictment aimed at securities fraud.

The two-year Attorney General is considered so politically vulnerable that three powerful Republican candidates – State Commissioner George P. Bush (son of Jeb Bush), former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and the U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert – runs against him in the primary election.

Paxton has not yet responded to the order from the district attorney’s office.

The newspapers represented in the lawsuit are in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Fort Worth.

The full letter to Paxton can be seen here.

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