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Texas AG Paxton won’t be required to appear in court after reportedly dodging a subpoena

Tony Gutierrez
/
Associated Press

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton won’t be required to appear in federal court after reports surfaced Monday that he ran away from a man trying to serve him a subpoena.

Paxton reportedly fled from a process server who was trying to serve the attorney general an order to appear in person in an Austin courtroom Tuesday. The case was brought against the state of Texas by nonprofit groups who raise funds to help people pay for abortions.

A man named Ernesto Martin Herrera said in a sworn affidavit that he attempted to serve Paxton the legal paperwork at Paxton’s home on Monday. Herrera said Paxton first waited inside his home, then eventually left hurriedly in a vehicle driven by his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton. The news was first reported by The Texas Tribune Monday evening.

“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,” the affidavit states.

A statement from Paxton’s campaign account on Tuesday said the judge in the case granted a motion to quash the subpoena and a separate pleading to seal the affidavit from Herrera, despite the latter already being made public.

Paxton also said in the statement that the process server, who the attorney general called a “strange man” who “yelled unintelligibly and charged toward” Paxton, was lucky the situation didn’t escalate. Paxton also made a reference to the Second Amendment in the statement.

“In light of the constant threats against me, for which dangerous individuals are currently incarcerated, I take a number of common sense precautions for me and my family’s safety when I am at home,” he said. “Texans do the same to protect themselves from threats, and many also exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and their families.”

The lawsuit in Travis County Tuesday comes after Fund Texas Choice — a non-profit organization that facilitates Texans’ travel to abortion clinics — and other organizations sued Texas after the state legislature passed its so-called “trigger law” that bans most abortions. The law went into effect following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The high court’s ruling returned the question of access to abortion to the states. Jane’s Due Process, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Clinic Access Support Network and others are also plaintiffs in the case.

In a statement to KERA, Fund Texas Choice executive director Anna Rupani said the lawsuit was about protecting a Texan’s ability to “freely travel to attain the healthcare they so deserve.”

“This lawsuit will help determine whether or not Texas has extra territorial jurisdiction outside its borders,” Rupani said. “We know it shouldn’t, so we are fighting to give Texans the comfort and support they deserve from their home state. There is safety and comfort in Texans helping other Texans.”

KERA's Bekah Morr contributed to this report.

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Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at jaguilar@kera.org.You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.

Copyright 2022 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Julián Aguilar | The Texas Newsroom