The Dallas Morning News reports that US District Judge Robert Pitman ordered Mr Paxton to testify on Tuesday. He's asking the attorney general's office to explain how it plans to enforce the state's wide-ranging abortion ban that threatens violators with prison time and hundreds of thousands in fines.
The case in question involves a group of Texas abortion funds that filed a lawsuit seeking legal protection for their work, which includes paying for flights, hotels, and other expenses of Texan women seeking to travel out of state for abortions.
The groups had to halt their work after the overturning of Roe v Wade earlier this year, which — due to Texas trigger laws — created a near total abortion ban in the state.
Mr Paxton has tried to avoid having to testify in the case. Last week Mr Paxton fled his home to avoid being served a subpoena related to the lawsuit. The process server said he witnessed Mr Paxton turn and run into his house when he approached and called the attorney general's name.
“A few minutes later I saw Mr Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,”the process server, Ernesto Martin Herrera, wrote in the affidavit. “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.”
After Mr Paxton received negative press coverage for running away from the lawsuit, he claimed he felt threatened by the process server.
“This is a ridiculous waste of time and the media should be ashamed of themselves," he said. "All across the country, conservatives have faced threats to their safety — many threats that received scant coverage or condemnation from the mainstream media.”
He doubled down on the defence later on Twitter.
“It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family,” he said.
Mr Pitman, the federal judge demanding Mr Paxton testify, said the attorney general could not justify giving numerous interviews on right-wing media about Texas' trigger laws while refusing to participate in a lawsuit about those laws.
“In this case, Paxton has inserted himself into this dispute by repeatedly tweeting and giving interviews about the Trigger Ban,” Mr Pitman wrote. “It is challenging to square the idea that Paxton has time to give interviews threatening prosecutions but would be unduly burdened by explaining what he means to the very parties affected by his statements.”