The State of Texas: Ken Paxton Takes One Final Crack At Getting His Felony Indictments Dismissed
Plus: Bad news (Baylor) Bears update, troubling details emerge about the pilot in Lockhart’s deadly hot air balloon crash, and a porn expo finally settles in Houston.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’ve never lost a women’s clinic.”
—Former University of Texas football coach Mack Brown to ESPN Radio, according to the Dallas Morning News. Brown was throwing some serious shade at Texas A&M on Monday, calling out the Aggies after an offensive presentation geared toward female fans managed to get two assistant coaches suspended.
Busy Bee AG
Attorney General Ken Paxton had a particularly active day on Tuesday: he took one final crack at getting his felony indictments dismissed, filed an amicus brief in a campus carry lawsuit, and attempted to “no comment” his way out of more allegations regarding his office’s apparently questionable use of paid emergency leave. The attorney general’s attorneys filed an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday in a last-ditch attempt at getting his three felony indictments for securities fraud tossed before going to trial, which could delay his already-delayed trial until next year, according to the Dallas Morning News. A lower appeals court in Dallas rejected Paxton’s initial attempts to ditch the charges in June, and it doesn’t seem like his argument has changed this time around. Paxton’s attorney told the Morning News that Paxton was “charged with a crime that simply doesn’t exist, using a grand jury that was improperly impaneled.” Meanwhile, Paxton entered the fray in a lawsuit filed against the state by University of Texas at Austin professors upset with the campus carry law, filing an amicus brief saying the suit is “frivolous,” according to the Texas Tribune. The professors claim that the law will restrict their First Amendment right to academic freedom by allowing guns in the classroom. Paxton says that’s not the case, and that by requesting an injunction on campus carry the professors would be limiting Second Amendment rights. Also on Tuesday, the Morning News revealed what appears to be yet another case of troubling paid emergency leave in the AG’s office. This time, one of the office’s top attorneys seems to have been given paid emergency leave for six months to keep her quiet when she was fired after raising concerns over a questionable contract with a technology business. A spokesperson for Paxton had no comment; perhaps Paxton was too busy filing appeals and amicus briefs.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Baylor offensive lineman Rami Hammad was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony for stalking an ex-girlfriend. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, Hammad’s ex-girlfriend told police that he followed her around campus one day last month after the couple broke up. The woman, 21, told police that Hammad had waited for her outside of a class. According to the affidavit, the woman was scared to exit the class alone, so she and the professor went together to the professor’s office. Hammad followed them, and spent several minutes knocking on the office door. The professor eventually had to call the police after “unsuccessful calls to Baylor athletics.” The woman also told police that Hammad had physically abused her on two previous occasions, at one point pinning her against a wall and placing his hands around her throat. Even after police told Hammad to stay away from the woman following the stalking incident last month, he continued to send her “food deliveries” and ask her friends where she was, according to the affidavit. The woman told police that “she no longer feels comfortable living in Waco and has moved out of the state,” writes the Tribune-Herald. Hammad told police “he just wanted to talk to the victim in an attempt to mend their troubled relationship.” Meanwhile, amid questions whether current football staff was involved in the school’s mishandling of sexual assault cases that were documented in an independent investigation completed in May, Baylor has now decided that none of the football team’s assistant coaches will be available for interviews this season, according to the Tribune-Herald.
Federal investigators are still trying to figure out what went wrong when a hot air balloon crashed in Lockhart last weekend, killing all 16 people on board. But some troubling details have come to light about the balloon’s pilot. According to the Associated Press, Alfred “Skip” Nichols was manning the balloon despite having a ton of problems that one would think would preclude a person from being able to continue operating hot air balloons. Nichols was convicted four times for drunk driving, most recently in 2010, and he had also spent some time in prison for a drug crime. He had a balloon pilot license, but no driver’s license. In 2013, he settled a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a crash-landing outside St. Louis of a balloon he was piloting. For what it’s worth, Nichols’s girlfriend told the AP he’d been sober for years and had never piloted a balloon while drunk, and, again, it’s unclear at the moment what exactly caused the crash. But still, how was this guy piloting balloons in 2016? According to the AP, it’s because of a “gap in oversight.” Apparently, it doesn’t take much to fulfill the Federal Aviation Administration’s requirements to be a balloon pilot.
Show Must Go On
An adult entertainment expo has finally found its home after shuffling from a few other locations whose hosts were less than thrilled about the prospect of people gathering there to celebrate nekkid imagery. According to the Houston Chronicle, the inaugural TEXXXAS expo will be held at a strip club in Northwest Houston, just barely inside the city’s outer loop boundary. Since organizers announced the sexpo last month, they’ve had a hard time finding a place to play. According to the Chronicle, two hotels, the Hilton and Holiday Inn, both kicked the convention to the curb after facing criticism from a national advocacy group for survivors of sexual exploitation. Apparently the strip club is a pretty decent joint for a convention—the event’s organizer told the Chronicle that the club has a 9,500-square foot second floor, where the convention will be held. The expo will host some big-time porn industry players, including Ron Jeremy, along with plenty of other porn stars who you’d probably never admit to having heard of in public.
WHAT WE’RE READING
An in-depth look at the recent San Antonio trial that shed light on the operations of the Zetas San Antonio Current
A Houston City Council meeting was shut down by protesters demanding body camera reforms Houston Chronicle
Someone hacked a cable company to broadcast racist messages throughout North Texas WFAA
El Paso High School was named one of the most picturesque campuses in the country El Paso Times
… and McAllen apparently has the most beautiful library in Texas McAllen Monitor