Texas AG Paxton fled house along with his spouse to keep away from a subpoena in an abortion case
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home to avoid being served a subpoena Monday in a federal lawsuit filed by groups seeking to help Texans obtain out-of-state abortions, court filings show .
Paxton ran from the garage of his McKinney, Texas, home into a truck being driven by his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, while refusing to accept the documents from a process server, according to an affidavit released Monday filed in the US District Court in Austin.
The Paxtons drove away without taking the documents left on the floor of the home, process server Ernesto Martin Herrera wrote in the affidavit.
Federal Judge Robert Pitman on Tuesday granted a motion to vacate the subpoena for Paxton’s testimony. Paxton had argued that the subpoena was unjustified because “none of the requirements for making, let alone enforcing, such a request has been satisfied.”
In a statement later Tuesday, Paxton accused the server of posing a threat by attacking it and yelling “incomprehensible”.
The attorney general also said Herrera is “fortunate that this situation has not further escalated or necessitated violence” after noting that many Texans retain guns for protection.
The subpoena ordered Paxton, a Republican, to testify at a hearing Tuesday morning in a civil lawsuit in which several Texas-based nonprofits plan to resume helping pregnant residents obtain abortions in other states. These include paying out-of-state abortion providers and providing financial assistance to those who desire abortions, as well as providing interstate travel to those providers.
The nonprofits say their pro-abortion activities halted shortly before the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade, who had enshrined federal abortion rights for decades, in June by a 5-4 vote. The Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization also threw out another case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had broadly upheld the abortion rights introduced by Roe.
In two tweets late Monday night, Paxton claimed he was concerned for his family and attacked the media for reporting on the affidavit without denying the contents of the document.
“This is a ridiculous waste of time and the media should be ashamed,” Paxton tweeted in response to a Texas Tribune article.
“Across the country, conservatives have faced security threats – many threats that have received little coverage or condemnation from the mainstream media,” his tweet said.
“It’s clear the media wants to stir up another controversy about my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and for my safety and well-being Family worries,” he said in a second tweet.
Herrera’s affidavit states that he arrived at Paxton’s home at 8:28 a.m. Monday and was greeted at the front door by a woman posing as Angela. When he told her he was trying to serve the subpoenas on Ken Paxton, she told him the AG was on the phone.
Herrera, who said he recognized Ken Paxton inside the house through glass on the door, offered to wait for him. Angela responded that Paxton “was in a hurry to leave,” according to Herrera, who watched a black Chevy truck pull into the driveway and then saw another car pull up there.
Around 9:40 a.m. Herrera said he saw Paxton coming out of his garage. Herrera walked up the drive towards Paxton and called his name. At that point, “He turned and ran back into the house through the same door in the garage.”
Minutes later, Angela came to the truck and opened both the driver’s door and the door behind it, Herrera wrote. A few minutes after she started the truck, “I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door in the garage to the back door behind the driver’s side,” Herrera wrote.
“I approached the truck and loudly called him by his name and explained that I have court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and continued to the truck. After realizing that Mr. Paxton would not accept the subpoenas from me I explained that I served him legal documents and left them on the floor where he could get them,” Herrera wrote.
“Then I put the documents on the ground next to the truck. The service ended at 9:50 am. He got into the truck and left the documents on the ground, and then both vehicles drove off,” he wrote.
Paxton’s statement Tuesday condemned the subpoena episode as a “fabricated controversy” and a “shameless stunt by my political opponents — a stunt a federal judge dismissed today by overturning the subpoena.”
“Here are the facts: A strange man came to my property at home, yelled incomprehensibly and charged at me. I found this person a threat because he was not honest or open about his intentions,” Paxton said in a statement.
The AG said he was taking several security precautions at home “given the constant threats against me”. He noted that many others in Texas are “also exercising their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and their families.”
“Given that this suspicious and erratic man has sued me over my private property, he is fortunate that this situation has not escalated further or necessitated violence,” Paxton said. “As leaders across America, from elected officials to Supreme Court justices, face unprecedented threats of politically motivated violence, I believe the type of behavior employed by radical activists is thoroughly disgusting and fast-paced should be condemned – not in the media.
In July, Paxton sued the Biden administration over the Health Department’s order that hospitals and doctors perform abortions in emergency situations.
Paxton, who was elected attorney general in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, has been charged with securities fraud for seven years, although the case has not gone to trial. He won his Republican primary in May, defeating GOP challenger George P. Bush in a runoff.