- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who faces felony charges of defrauding investors unrelated to his office, has the support of Gov. Greg Abbott and other state leaders and hasn’t been asked to resign, a Paxton spokesman said Tuesday.

The state’s top prosecutor, a Republican, has faced months of speculation that the state’s dominant party would pressure him to step aside as his legal troubles mounted. Abbott, Paxton’s predecessor as attorney general, served 12 years in the office before he was elected governor in 2014.

But just a few days after Republicans rallied in Fort Worth at their state convention, Paxton spokesman Marc Rylander said the attorney general has not been asked to resign and enjoys strong support from state leaders. Republicans have won every statewide election since 1998.

“There has been no such request. We are encouraged by the support that we have received from the governor, the lieutenant governor and many across state offices, state leaders and our state Legislature,” Rylander said. “We continue every day to do the job that Texans elected us to do.”

Rylander declined to detail the support.

Abbott spokesman John Wittman said the governor’s office will continue to work “productively” with Paxton, and noted former Gov. Rick Perry successfully fought to have felony abuse of power charges against him dropped earlier this year.

“The governor has repeatedly said that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and the legal process must run its course as we saw in Gov. Perry’s case,” Wittman said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office declined to comment.

The charges against Paxton relate to a tech startup company before he became attorney general. He also is being sued by federal financial regulators. Paxton released a video last week saying is “not going anywhere” and would fight the charges. In the video, Paxton said he believes the legal cases against him are politically motivated.

At a news conference Tuesday about the attorney general’s Sex Offender Apprehension Unit, Paxton initially declined to take questions about other topics but said he’d be available to reporters after the event. Paxton instead had Rylander field questions and left the room.


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