For the second time this month, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has suffered a major setback in a criminal case in which he alleged "election fraud."
Paxton, who's been endorsed for re-election by former president Donald Trump despite facing felony charges, earlier this year accused Medina County Justice of the Peace Tomas “Tommy” Ramirez of running a vote-harvesting operation out of assisted living centers during the 2018 Republican primary.
Ramirez says the allegations led to threats and harassment against him, and he accused Paxton of pushing for an indictment just to get headlines and rile up his base, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
On Tuesday, a judge dismissed all charges against Ramirez.
“This case was politically motivated and was totally unjustified,” Ramirez said. “My family and I have received anonymous hate mail and ugly social media attacks. My law office was vandalized and I was even asked by the State Bar of Texas if I wanted to voluntarily surrender my law license.”
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Ramirez alleged that Paxton conducted a year-long investigation and continued to press for charges even after one of the AG's investigators found there was no probable cause to pursue the case.
The dismissal of the charges against Ramirez "followed a ruling by a separate court that struck down a law allowing the state attorney general to unilaterally prosecute election law cases," the Express-News reports.
"In an 8-1 ruling, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said a provision of the law violates the separation of powers clause in the Texas Constitution," according to the newspaper. "The state attorney general can only get involved in a case when asked to by a district or county attorney, the court determined. That ruling was a blow for Texas Republicans who have promoted former president Donald Trump’s discredited claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election."