In a chef’s-kiss personification of Republicans running away from their unpopular positions on abortion, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) literally fled his home on Monday when a process server tried to serve him with a subpoena to testify in an abortion case. According to the Texas Tribune, his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, drove them both away in a truck.
Process server Ernesto Martin Herrera wrote in an affidavit that he went to Paxton’s house on Monday morning and told a woman who identified herself as Angela that he was trying to give legal documents to the AG. (It was a subpoena to testify in a federal court hearing today over a lawsuit filed by eight abortion funds—more on that below.)
Angela said Paxton was on the phone and couldn’t come to the door, but Herrera said he would wait and gave her his business card. About an hour later, a Chevy Tahoe pulled into the driveway and, 20 minutes after that, Paxton emerged from the garage. Herrera called his name and Paxton ran back inside, only for Angela to come out, open both driver’s side doors of a truck in the driveway, and start the car.
The next part is too good to paraphrase. From the affidavit, emphasis Herrera’s:
“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side. I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck. After determining that Mr. Paxton was not going to take the Subpoenas from my hand, I stated that I was serving him with legal documents and was leaving them on the ground where he could get them. I then placed the documents on the ground beside the truck. Service was completed at 9:50 am. He got in the truck leaving the documents on the ground, and then both vehicles left.”
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Paxton thought it wise to respond to the Tribune story on Twitter, claiming that the process server was “a stranger lingering outside” and that he was concerned for his family’s safety. Paxton was so terrified of this man, apparently, that he sent his wife out to get their car!
Paxton is up for re-election in November and faces Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza. It’s one of the closest statewide races right now, with Paxton leading polls by just 3 percent. He’s also facing securities fraud charges and will be deposed in that case three weeks after Election Day, conveniently. Could it be that Paxton doesn’t want to testify in court about abortion six weeks before Election Day in what has turned out to be a very close race?
Garza responded to the story on Twitter and called Paxton a coward.
So what is the lawsuit Paxton didn’t want to testify about? A group of eight Texas abortion funds and one Texas-based OB/GYN and abortion provider sued the state and Paxton in August asking a court to overturn Texas’ trigger law that bans abortion and other pre-Civil War abortion laws. The funds argue that the laws could criminalize anyone who helps a Texan access legal abortion care in another state—something funds were doing long before the end of Roe and had hoped to do after. They claim that the laws violate the First Amendment, among other rights.
Good luck in your election, Ken.