Texas Attorney General has until Sept. 10 to find legal representation

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has until Thursday to find a lawyer to represent him for felony charges of violating state securities laws.

At a hearing held Aug. 27 in Fort Worth, Paxton’s lead defense lawyer, Joe Kendall, unexpectedly resigned, according to the Dallas Morning News, after Paxton pled not guilty.

Paxton has been charged with two counts of securities fraud and one count of failure to register with the State Securities Board, all of which the defense said took place before Paxton took office in January 2015.

“I am innocent of these charges. It is a travesty that some would attempt to hijack our system of justice to achieve political ends they could not accomplish at the ballot box,” Paxton said in a statement. “Regardless, I will continue to serve the people of Texas as Attorney General and continue to fight for the freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution.”

Criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte raised questions about Paxton’s representation when he announced on Twitter that he would represent Paxton in Kendall’s absence.

“Clarification will be forthcoming today,” Schulte tweeted. “It’s unfortunate Joe Kendall created this confusion in court today as he was leaving the team.”

Schulte was incorrect, as the Fish & Richardson law firm issued a statement that said they will be helping Paxton search for representation.

“Fish & Richardson have been assisting Attorney General Ken Paxton in the retention of legal counsel for his criminal case,” the statement said. “No final decision has been made as to who the members of that team will be.”

State District Judge George Gallagher initially gave Paxton one week after the hearing to find new counsel but has since granted an extension until Sept. 10.

On Aug. 3, 2015, Paxton was arrested after a state grand jury indicted him on three felony securities fraud charges but was released on $35,000 bail.