Elections 2022IssuesJudicialPaxton Slams Media After Courier Claims He ‘Ran’ From Subpoena: ‘He Is Lucky This Situation Did Not Escalate’

A process server indicated in a sworn statement that the attorney general fled as he tried to deliver papers in a suit initiated by pro-choice groups.
September 27, 2022
Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton lashed out at “radical activists” and the news media after The Texas Tribune published a court document containing an allegation that he tried to dodge a subpoena.

The document is connected to a lawsuit filed in August by a set of pro-choice groups seeking to block Paxton and other officials from enforcing state laws against facilitating out-of-state travel to obtain an abortion.

A process server, Ernesto Herrera, claimed in a sworn affidavit that he went to Attorney General Paxton’s residence in McKinney on Monday morning to serve the legal documents. Herrera indicated that he was greeted at the door by the attorney general’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney).

Herrera stated that he saw Attorney General Paxton enter and leave the room and Sen. Paxton told him that her husband was “in a hurry to leave.” Herrera stated that he returned to his vehicle and “waited per his client’s instructions.”

In the affidavit, Herrera noted the presence of a Chevrolet truck and said another vehicle showed up while Herrera was waiting in his car.

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“At approximately 9:40 am the garage door opened up and I saw Mr. Paxton exiting the garage. He was wearing a white shirt and dark pants and carrying a suit jacket in his hands,” Herrera stated. 

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

Herrera continued, “At approximately 9:47 am, Angela came out and opened the driver side and rear side door behind the driver of the truck. She then got inside the truck and started it, leaving the rear door behind the driver side open. A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN [sic] 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 concluded with Herrera stating that he left the documents on the ground near the truck, but the Paxtons did not get out to retrieve them before both vehicles departed.

According to federal court records, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted a motion to quash the subpoena in question and sealed the court document that the Tribune published.

Paxton’s campaign put out a statement calling it a “made-up controversy” and a “shameless stunt from my political opponents.” The attorney general emphasized that Pitman quashed the subpoena on Tuesday.

“Here are the facts: a strange man came onto my property at home, yelled unintelligibly, and charged toward me. I perceived this person to be a threat because he was neither honest nor upfront about his intentions,” Paxton said.

“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’m at home. Texans do the same to protect themselves from threats, and many also exercise their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and their families.”

The attorney general even suggested that he might have had to physically defend himself from Herrera.

“Given that this suspicious and erratic man charged me on my private property, he is lucky this situation did not escalate further or necessitate force. As leaders across America, from elected officials to Supreme Court Justices, face unprecedent [sic] threats of politically motivated violence, I believe this type of behavior utilized by radical activists is thoroughly disgusting and should be met with swift condemnation — not championed in the media.”

On Tuesday, Democratic nominee Rochelle Garza tweeted, “Ken Paxton is running from the law. I’m running to replace him.”

Paxton is competing with Garza and Libertarian Mark Ash in the general election on Tuesday, November 8.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."