A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be required to testify in an abortion lawsuit for just a week, just a week after a court stated he had fled his home to avoid a subpoena to make his appearance on Tuesday. to avoid a hearing in the case.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordered Paxton, a Republican, to testify in a lawsuit seeking to prevent prosecutors from seeking abortion providers to offer financial and other assistance to Texans seeking out-of-state abortion services.
Pitman’s injunction was a reversal of his earlier ruling, which granted Paxton’s request for a subpoena in the August lawsuit filed against Paxton and local prosecutors against several nonprofit Texas abortion funds and an OB lawsuit. GYN to destroy.
A trial server said last week that Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife, Senator Angela Paxton, to avoid being subpoenaed to appear at a hearing in the case. In a series of tweetsPaxton said he avoided a “stranger hanging out outside my house” out of concern for his family’s safety.
According to the judge’s order, Paxton had initially challenged the subpoena because, as a high-ranking government official, he could not be forced to testify at a hearing, especially at the “eleventh hour.”
But Pitman said he was forced to change his mind when abortion rights groups filed a new motion last week citing the various attempts they had made to help him, including repeated emails that went unanswered ahead of the scheduled hearing.
“Because the Court was compelled to rule on Paxton’s request for annulment within a very limited time, without benefit from Plaintiffs’ response, and because the Court relied on Defendant’s statements as accurate representations of when Paxton had been served and informed of his expected testimony, the Court has ruled on incomplete facts,” Pitman wrote Tuesday.
Abortion rights groups in the case have accused Paxton and others in court files of attempting to “give their First Amendment rights to speak about and fund abortion care,” arguing that Paxton’s statements have limited their ability to help people facilitating outside the state. abortions.
The groups called on Paxton to testify after claiming that his attempts to drop their lawsuit led him to contradict some of his previous statements in press releases, tweets and media interviews about his desire to impose and aid civil penalties. in criminal prosecution of those involved in performing or attempting abortions.
Pitman ordered the parties to agree on the details of Paxton’s testimony next Tuesday.
Paxton, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has been indicted on securities fraud charges for seven years and has also faced an FBI investigation into allegations by former top employees that he abused his office. In both cases, he has denied any allegation.