AUSTIN, Texas — The whistleblowers who sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after he fired them for accusing him of abuse of office and bribery are speaking out for the first time, according to a report by The Texas Tribune.
The Tribune reports that the four whistleblowers said they previously intended to stay silent about their case while it played out in the justice system, but now feel they must speak up.
"Our preference was to remain silent while the wheels of justice turned, and our civil case progressed in the courts," the group said in a joint statement Monday. "However, in recent weeks, Paxton has made numerous false and misleading public statements that we feel obligated to correct."
According to the report, the group also said they had remained quiet to respect the "ongoing FBI investigation," indicating that the criminal probe into Paxton continues. The Tribune said the FBI has declined to comment on the matter in the past.
In their statement, the whistleblowers – former deputy attorneys general James Blake Brickman, Mark Penley and Ryan Vassar, as well as David Maxwell, the AG office’s former director of law enforcement – state that Paxton is misleading Texans about the allegations that have been brought against him.
"The most basic qualifications of an attorney general are respect for truth and respect for the law. Ken Paxton has neither," the group said. "The day will come when Ken Paxton must testify under oath about his and his agency’s actions. Until then, we call on Ken Paxton to start telling the truth to the people of Texas."
Paxton's office did not immediately respond to the Tribune's requests for comment.
Paxton, a two-term incumbent, is currently in a primary for reelection. He is campaigning throughout Texas ahead of Election Day on March 1.
For more on the whistleblowers' allegations and the ongoing investigation and litigation related to them, see KVUE's previous coverage:
- AG Ken Paxton asks Texas Supreme Court to dismiss whistleblower lawsuit
- Court says whistleblowers who accused AG Paxton are protected by Texas Whistleblower Act
- Ken Paxton asks appeals court to toss whistleblower case brought by former top aides
- Texas laws protecting whistleblowers don't apply to Attorney General Ken Paxton, his agency argues in bid to quash lawsuit
- In FBI probe, Texas AG faces aggressive, ethical prosecutor
- FBI subpoenas Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton amid whistleblower allegations
- Paxton releases new response to allegations against him, FBI investigating
- Whistleblowers file suit against Texas AG Ken Paxton, claiming retaliation