Texas A-G won't hand over Jan 6 records

Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton has refused to hand over his records about the US Capitol riot. -AP

Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton has rejected a prosecutor's demand for records of his appearance at a pro-Donald Trump rally that preceded the assault on the US Capitol.

Last week, the Travis County district attorney's office had set a four-day deadline for Paxton to turn over the records involving the January 6, 2021, rally or face a lawsuit accusing him of violating the state open records law. 

But in a letter to the district attorney's office on Friday, his office denied any violations and rejected the office's demands.

The Texas Tribune was the first to report about Paxton's refusal. A message to the district attorney's office seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.

Paxton and his wife, state senator Angela Paxton, appeared at the event in Washington DC, where he gave a speech touting his failed legal push to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.

Several news organisations have requested Paxton's communications from around that time under the Texas Public Information Act. 

Last March, six news outlets jointly published a story raising questions about whether Paxton was breaking open records laws.

Earlier this month, top editors at five Texas newspapers — the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News — filed a complaint asking the district attorney to investigate the alleged violations.

Paxton faces several GOP challengers in his re-election bid this year.

In 2020, eight of Paxton's top deputies accused him of bribery, abuse of office and other crimes in the service of another supporter, an Austin real estate developer who employs a woman with whom the attorney-general allegedly had an extra-marital affair. 

The FBI is investigating those allegations.

Paxton has also spent most of his time in office under a separate felony indictment. He pleaded not guilty in 2015 to three state securities fraud charges but is yet to face trial.