• Paxton indicted on felony charges

    A grand jury has indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton on accounts of fraud and failing to register with the state securities boards.
    These charges will be present by the grand jury in McKinney, Texas, on Monday where Paxton is expected to turn himself into the Collin County jail.  Paxton faces a third-degree charge for failing to register with the state securities board and first-degree security frauds.
    In Paxton’s first-degree security frauds, he is accused of misleading investors in McKinney-based technology company Servergy. According to the accusation, Paxton in 2011 led the investors to put more than $600,000 in Servergy and failed to tell them he was making a commission on their investment and misrepresenting himself as an investor in the company.
    For the first-degree sentence, Paxton could serve a life in prison or a sentence of 5–99 years. A third-degree sentence is a punishment of 2–10 years.
    Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald said this is a time to make sure state laws are being protected.
    “It’s time to determine in a court of law if Attorney General Paxton violated the very state laws that he is supposed to uphold and defend,” McDonald wrote in a public statement on the group website.
    Anthony Holm, spokesperson for Paxton, wrote an op-ed July 27 for the Austin American-Statesman discussing his concerns of the legal system and fairness under the law.

    “If society continues to overlooks this witches’ brew of jury tampering, media leaks, and freshman prosecutors, we may wake up to find the office of the Attorney General of Texas at the mercy of two criminal defense attorneys who take checks from the very drug cartel leaders and child molesters the attorney general tries to imprison,” Holms said in his op-ed.   
    While Paxton prepares for a criminal trial, he does not have to step down from his statewide position. He can continue working, just as then-Gov. Rick Perry did after facing two indictments in August 2014.

  • Davis task force receives an extension

    The task force assembled to review the Jefferson Davis statue has asked President Gregory Fenves for an extension, so it will release its recommendations by August 10.

    The task force originally planned to release its options by August 1.

    University spokesperson Gary Susswein said the task force needed the extension to review all of their options and information they received.

    "They needed extra time to go through all of the options and review all of the public input that has been submitted," Susswein said.

    Leslie Blair, communications director for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, said the chair of the task force Gregory Vincent will answer questions from the media at 2 p.m. in the Flawn Academic Center once the report has been submitted.

    To read about the full controversy around the statue, click here.

  • Appeals Court clears Perry of one of two indictments

    On Friday, the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals dismissed one of two felony charges against former Gov. Rick Perry.

    Perry was indicted on charges of coercion of a public servant and abuse of official capacity after being accused of threatening to veto funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after she was arrested for drunken driving. She refused, and Perry vetoed the funding.

    The court sided with Perry’s lawyers that the state’s law concerning coercion of a public servant “violates the First Amendment and, accordingly, cannot be enforced.”

    It upheld the charge against Perry for abuse of official capacity.

    The ruling comes as Perry is running in a crowded field for the Republican nomination for president. Perry can make an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for the remaining charge.

  • UTPD arrests homeless man on the Drag

    Around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, the University of Texas Police Department responded to an incident involving a homeless man at 2400 Guadalupe Street.

    UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said the department received a report of an aggressive subject threatening people with a knife and shouting at them. Posey said she is aware of three people he threatened by telling them to "shut up" but believes no one was hurt.

    The police did arrest the man and Posey said they will have more information once they process him.    

    UTPD sent out emails and text alerts to students about the situation saying they were looking for a male subject with a tyedye shirt and asked students to avoid the area. The department followed up shortly afterward, saying they were in contact with the subject and he was not an ongoing threat.

    During the officers' search, a said second homeless man was questioned but was not taken into custody. Posey said she did not have any information about the second person. 

  • Records show many influential Texans helped underqualified students get into UT

    The Dallas Morning News reported Monday "dozens" of notable Texans, lawmakers, lawyers and even UT regents helped influence the admissions process for students deemed unqualified. 

    According to records The Dallas Morning News obtained, among the people who directly bypassed the admissions office and wrote to then-President William Powers Jr. and then-Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa were famed golfer Ben Crenshaw, former UT regent Scott Craven, Austin lawyer Roy Minton, Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio).
    Other figures discovered to have helped included Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and former regents Jess Hay and Thomas Hicks.
    Strauss wrote a letter in November 2012 to the director of admissions regarding the close daughter of a family friend.
    “I know [the student] well as our families are close friends,” Strauss said in the letter. “[She] is a multi-generation Longhorn legacy, dating back to 1924.” 
    A letter of recommendation from W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, a millionaire oil man in Fort Worth, said he did not know the student but came from a good family legacy.
    “I do not know this young man or anything about his qualifications, but I do know [the student’s] parents and I know his grandparents very well,” Moncrief wrote in the letter. “[The student] is certainly from a very fine and highly respected family. 
    These letters were spotlighted in an outside investigation known as the Kroll Report. Under this report, Powers directly admitted 73 students from 2009–2010 with GPAs less than 2.9 and SAT scores less than 1100.