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Texas AG Ken Paxton will avoid fraud trial in exchange for community service, restitution

Just weeks before Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was set to face trial in a nine-year-old securities fraud case that he denies, prosecutors on Tuesday agreed to drop the charges on certain conditions.

According to a pretrial agreement reviewed by ABC News, Paxton, the state's top lawyer, will have to complete a series of actions including community service, legal ethics courses and a nearly $300,000 restitution payment.

In 2015, shortly after Paxton entered office, he was charged with allegedly defrauding investors by encouraging them to fund a tech startup that he was, unbeknownst to them, being paid to promote.

Paxton pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

"There will never be a conviction in this case nor am I guilty," he wrote in a statement posted to X on Tuesday afternoon.

The pretrial agreement does not require Paxton to enter a plea. Prosecutors did not immediately have further comment.

If he had been convicted of fraud, Paxton potentially faced decades behind bars.

PHOTO: In this Feb. 23, 2024, file photo, Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: In this Feb. 23, 2024, file photo, Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)

The trial has been delayed for various reasons, including changes in venue, a question of payment for the prosecutors and more.

Paxton recently sought to have the charges dismissed because the trial had taken so long, though the state blamed Paxton for much of the delay and a judge rejected that he had had his right to a speedy trial violated.

Paxton, a headline-grabbing Republican who became attorney general in 2015 and won his last race by double digits, has faced multiple other issues while in office.

He was acquitted last year by the state Senate on 16 articles of impeachment after a majority of the state House, including many other Republicans, backed the articles against him.

Paxton has also been under an ongoing federal investigation in Texas since the fall of 2020, when the FBI began to probe allegations of abuse of office and misconduct brought by a group of whistleblowing former employees.

No charges have been filed against Paxton in that probe, and the Department of Justice has said that its Public Integrity Section would be taking over what was originally a state-led case.

Paxton said he did nothing wrong.

Texas AG Ken Paxton will avoid fraud trial in exchange for community service, restitution originally appeared on abcnews.go.com