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Texas AG Paxton fled home in a truck driven by his wife to avoid subpoena, process server alleges

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, on Monday to avoid being served a subpoena, a process server said in an affidavit filed in federal court.

Paxton was being subpoenaed to testify at a hearing Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by abortion rights groups aimed at preventing state prosecutors from going after them for providing financial and other aid to Texans seeking abortion services out of state.

In his sworn affidavit, process server Ernesto Martin Herrera said he knocked on the front door of Paxton’s home Monday morning and a woman identifying herself as Angela opened the door. After he said he was there to serve the state attorney general with legal documents, she said Paxton was on the phone and in a hurry to leave, Herrera wrote. 

Jan. 21, 202201:19

Herrera said he offered to wait and left his business card with her. After he had been waiting in his car for about an hour, a black Chevrolet Tahoe pulled up to the driveway, he said. About 20 minutes later, Paxton left the house and Herrera approached him on the driveway.

“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name,” Herrera wrote. “As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage.”

Angela Paxton then left the house, got inside a different Chevrolet truck in the driveway and started it, leaving the driver’s side rear door open.

“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton ran from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” Herrera wrote. “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.” 

Herrera said he stated that he would leave the documents on the ground beside the truck. Both vehicles then left, leaving the documents where he had placed them on the ground.

In tweets Monday night, Paxton said he was avoiding a “stranger lingering outside my home” out of concern for his family’s safety.

“This is a ridiculous waste of time and the media should be ashamed of themselves,” Paxton wrote in a reply to The Texas Tribune, which first reported the story. “All across the country, conservatives have faced threats to their safety — many threats that received scant coverage or condemnation from the mainstream media.”

“It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family,” Paxton also tweeted.

The subpoena to Paxton comes months after he sued the Biden administration in July over a directive from the Department of Health and Human Services to offer abortions in emergency situations. In the guidance, Secretary of Health Xavier Becerra said a 1985 law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act protects providers offering emergency abortion services, even if a state law outlaws it.

The HHS guidance followed President Joe Biden’s executive order in July to ensure access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Paxton, a close ally of former President Donald Trump who unsuccessfully tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election results based on unfounded claims of fraud, has been under indictment on securities fraud charges for seven years and also faced an FBI probe of allegations by former top aides that he abused his office. In both instances, Paxton has denied any wrongdoing.

Last May, Paxton defeated Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush — the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — in a runoff election for another term in office.