attorney general

Texas’ Paxton picks Kirkland lawyer, ex-Alito clerk as solicitor general

Trump rally in Texas

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks ahead of a rally held by former U.S. President Donald Trump, in Robstown, Texas, U.S., October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Go Nakamura Acquire Licensing Rights

Nov 13 (Reuters) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday said he has appointed a Brigham Young University law professor and attorney at law firm Kirkland & Ellis to serve as the state’s next solicitor general.

Aaron Nielson, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, will serve as Texas’ lead lawyer in state and federal appellate courts.

“In this position, he will lead the critical appellate work for some of our most significant, far-reaching cases,” Paxton, a Republican, said in a statement.

Paxton said Nielson will take a one-year leave of absence from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School to serve as solicitor general.

Nielson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement released by Paxton’s office, Nielson said he looked forward to “working alongside the team Attorney General Paxton has assembled.”

The appointment comes about two months after the Texas Senate acquitted Paxton on 16 articles of impeachment he faced before that body, allowing him to keep his state office. Paxton has been dogged by corruption allegations since taking office in 2014.

Paxton, an ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, has repeatedly insisted that he is innocent and that the impeachment trial was a political witchhunt.

Nielson has worked at Kirkland for more than decade, according to his LinkedIn profile. The firm’s website said he is an of counsel in its Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City offices.

Apart from Alito, Nielson has also served as a clerk to Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Judge Jerry Smith of the

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Former Trump Lawyer’s Testimony In New York Civil Fraud Trial Postponed Due To Health Concerns

Former President Donald Trump‘s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, has postponed his testimony in the New York civil fraud trial against Trump due to health issues.

What Happened: Cohen’s testimony was scheduled for as early as Tuesday and was estimated to span over two days.

The duration of Cohen’s absence due to this health concern is undisclosed, The Hill reported.

It is possible he may testify later in the trial, which is anticipated to continue for several months, the report added.

See Also: Marjorie Taylor Greene Refuses To Support GOP’s Speaker Nominee Because She Wants To ‘See Him Defeat Cancer’

Last month, a judge ruled that Trump and his businesses committed fraud by manipulating the value of their assets to reduce taxes and secure better insurance coverage. As a result, multiple business licenses were set to be stripped.

Cohen, a crucial witness in the case, has suggested that the trial could potentially dismantle Trump’s business empire. He previously testified in 2019, alleging that Trump artificially boosted his wealth.

Despite his concerns over online attacks from Trump’s supporters, Cohen was slated to testify as early as Tuesday. Cohen’s statement led to the ongoing $250 million lawsuit initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The trial commenced on Oct. 2, with both New York Attorney General James and Trump present in the courtroom. A New York appeals court denied Trump’s request to temporarily halt the trial but paused the cancellation of his business licenses until after an appeals court hears his case.

The ex-president is also facing criminal charges from the Manhattan district attorney’s office related to hush-money payments, in which Cohen is expected to testify. Trump has denied the allegations in both the hush-money and civil cases and has publicly disparaged Cohen, referring to him as a “rat.”

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Fired lawyer calls Landry’s conflict of interest claim false | Courts

 After he sued the Louisiana Board of Pardons to halt a historic batch of death row clemency requests, Attorney General Jeff Landry fired the board’s lawyer over an alleged conflict of interest.

But that attorney, Art Smith, claimed in an interview Tuesday morning that no such conflict exists. And the attorney general, the leading Republican candidate for governor, himself now faces conflict-of-interest accusations over his decision to fire the opposing lawyer in a case where Landry is a plaintiff.

Landry said through a spokesman Monday that Smith had pending litigation against the pardon board and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The open cases amount to a “non-waivable” conflict of interest that could hinder his ability to litigate the death row lawsuit fairly, he wrote to Smith on Sept. 26.

Landry told the Baton Rouge attorney he was dismissed from his position representing the board.

Smith said Tuesday that while he indeed has pending litigation against those agencies, he disclosed the cases to members of the pardon board upon his hiring. Board members did not view his open cases as a conflict during his hiring, Smith said. 

Smith said he also obtained both verbal and written affirmation from a private attorney who specializes in ethics cases stating that his open litigation did not amount to a conflict of interest.

“I wanted to be transparent about it, and I fully disclosed it,” Smith said.

Louisiana’s attorney general is required by state law to approve or reject lawyers hired by state agencies. Contracts between attorneys and agencies must be approved by the attorney general’s office, which reviews potential conflicts of interest and weighs costs, among other factors.

In his letter, Landry wrote that Smith had not properly sought contract approval and had skirted other requirements, making him ineligible to represent

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Marlene Galan Woods Is Running as a Dem. She’s Taking Cash From a GOP Lawyer Who Fought Trump’s Loss.

At a press conference ahead of the 2022 election in Arizona, Marlene Galan Woods—a prominent former TV journalist in Phoenix and a onetime member of the state’s Republican elite—described that year’s GOP ticket as a bunch of “election-denying lunatics.”

“Only one party is trying to end democracy,” Woods said. “Only one party is trying to limit who can vote. Only one party embraces antisemitism, racism, and an extreme white nationalist agenda—and it is not the Democrats.”

Last November, Arizona voters awarded a clean sweep to Democrats, including a candidate whose campaign Woods chaired: Adrian Fontes, who defeated hardcore election denier Mark Finchem for the office of secretary of state.

Now officially a Democrat, Woods is making her former party’s assault on elections a focal point of her 2024 campaign against Rep. David Schweikert (R), who represents a battleground congressional district in the Phoenix area.

But tucked inside Woods’ first federal campaign finance report is a detail that complicates her pro-democracy bona fides: one of her most generous supporters is the attorney who led the Trump-fueled legal challenges to the 2020 election result in Arizona.

Since November 2020, Dennis Wilenchik and his law firm have represented the Arizona Republican Party and its former chair, Kelli Ward, in two lawsuits which aimed to throw out Joe Biden’s victory and challenge the integrity of Maricopa County’s vote-counting procedure.

While judges quickly shut down these cases—and any threat they posed to the transition of power—Wilenchik and his law firm continued to file appeals related to these lawsuits into this year.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Bonnie Conrad, who is Wilenchik’s wife, gave $6,600 to Woods’ campaign, which is twice the federally allowed maximum for a primary election. A note on the line item states that the donation was “reattributed to Conrad and Wilenchik,”

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Stone Academy lawyer says CT misusing restricted funds for audit

A lawyer for Stone Academy is objecting to plans by the Office of Higher Education to use a restricted student protection fund to pay for an audit intended to judge the validity of credits earned by students at the for-profit career training school, which closed mid-February.

Perry Rowthorn, the former deputy attorney general representing the family trust that owns the school that trained students to be licensed practical nurses, said use of the restricted funds is not authorized by state law and is contrary to the interests of the students.

“In addition to being unauthorized, it would be nonsensical and directly contrary to the purposes of the account to use it for an audit that will harm students by disenfranchising them of earned educational credits,” Rowthorn said.

By law, Rowthorn said, the fund’s only purpose is to provide “reimbursement to students in the event of insolvency or cessation of a school’s operation.” The student protection account is funded by quarterly fees paid by the career schools equal to four-tenths of 1% of tuition.

Timothy Larson, the executive director of the Officer of Higher Education, said his agency is using the student protection funds with the approval of the secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, which OPM confirmed. The audit, he said, is necessary for the students to continue their studies.

“Once we have the audit, we can [assess] all of these students appropriately and then get them on a path forward,” Larson said. “So I think we’ll get it done sooner than later. I don’t have a timeline.”

The contract with Clifton Larson Allen, the firm that will conduct the audit, was signed Monday.

One issue is whether students, who divided their time in class and in clinical settings, had adequate clinical hours — something that became difficult

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Attorney General James makes big development in NY fight against gun violence

State Attorney General Letitia James says she secured a court order to stop gunmakers from selling ghost guns in New York.
Legally, gun manufacturers are supposed to mark guns with serial numbers that help officials trace the gun back to the maker, seller, and customer. However, ghost guns are made without a serial number, that can’t be traced.

They’re often sold in parts that someone can put together at home.

Now, Attorney General James says 10 national gun companies will have to stop selling and shipping those parts. James won the court order against several big gun names including 80% Arms and Glockstore.

Ghost guns have been connected to several shootings across the city, including one that took the life of 16-year-old Angellyh Yambo and injured two other teens last April as they were walking home from school in Melrose.

Officials for months have been warning that ghost guns are a danger to New Yorkers because they’re a loophole around gun regulation. Since they are sold in separate parts, they don’t have a serial number, making it hard for law enforcement to track down a shooter.

The attorney general called this a common sense gun law and says that this court order will protect the public.

She also has filed a lawsuit against those 10 companies, which is currently pending.

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Attorney general reverses ban on Tucson housing ordinance

Arizona Attorney General Kristin Mayes has reversed her predecessor’s decision to block an ordinance that bans landlords in Tucson from rejecting tenants based on their source of income.

Tucson’s ordinance does not violate state law or the Arizona constitution, Mayes’ new opinion released Wednesday stated, citing two legal errors in the one filed by former attorney general Mark Brnovich’s in December 2022.

“The Source of Income Protection is one of the solutions for the housing crisis in Arizona,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “I applaud Arizona Attorney General Mayes for reversing the opinion of the previous AG and recognizing that the City of Tucson has the authority as a chartered city to make the decisions that protect our most vulnerable residents.”

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On Sept. 27, Romero and other members of city council approved the Source of Income Ordinance. It banned housing discrimination based on a person’s source of income, which include child support, spousal support, rental assistance, social security or disability insurance, veteran’s benefits and any other form of governmental assistance.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the change, saying it is necessary because discrimination is rampant against low-income families, seniors, military veterans and people with disabilities who receive Section 8 housing vouchers or other forms of rental aid, the Arizona Daily Star previously reported.

Arizona Speaker of the House Ben Toma previously said the measure violated a statute that prevents local government from placing restrictions on the rental housing industry and requested Brnovich, the attorney general at the time, declare the ordinance unconstitutional, the Star reported.

In December, Brnovich ruled the city’s new measure violated a state law that preempts municipalities from regulating the rental housing industry, the Star reported. As a result, Tucson had until Jan. 21 to resolve the violation or have its

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Facing lawsuit from Arizona attorney general, Cochise County supervisors hire outside attorney

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors will hire an outside attorney to defend them against a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office that seeks to block the county from consolidating nearly all of the election duties under the county recorder.

The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Kris Mayes named Supervisors Peggy Judd, Tom Crosby and Ann English as defendants, as well as County Recorder David Stevens, and claims the board does not have the legal power to hand over election duties to another elected office.

During an emergency meeting in Bisbee on Wednesday, the board voted 2-1 to hire outside legal counsel, with Republican supervisors Judd and Crosby voting in favor and English, the lone Democrat, voting against the move.

The county plans to hire Phoenix-based attorney Timothy La Sota, although questions remain about where the money to pay him will come from. La Sota has previously represented Republican candidates, including attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh and gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, along with various state and county government offices.

The board met with the county attorney in a closed-door session before the vote at the emergency meeting.

Mayes’ lawsuit states that the County Attorney’s Office agrees with the attorney general’s position, which led the board to seek outside counsel, English said.

Related story:Cochise County recorder to run elections, raising concerns about illegal practices

County proceeding with election plans

Wednesday’s meeting came just about two months before a scheduled special election May 16 on an excise tax for a jail district in Cochise County.

Despite the lawsuit, and questions about who is in charge of the Elections Department, the county will go ahead with preparations for the election, according to county spokesperson Jane Montgomery.

“At the moment we are working on the assumption that we will proceed,” she said.

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California attorney general sues city for flouting state housing laws

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta announced two lawsuits against the city of Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws during a Thursday press conference.

What follows may be a test case for recent state laws designed to lower the barriers to new housing construction. Housing’s high cost and low availability has become a major pinch point for California’s economy.

The Orange County beach city of 200,000 passed an ordinance last month blocking the processing of applications of accessory dwelling units, or so called “granny flats,” on single family home properties.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is suing Huntington Beach again claiming the city is defying state housing laws.

California Attorney General’s Office

The city ordinance conflicts with Senate Bill 9, approved in 2021, which mandates a streamlined approval process for ADUs and splitting single family home lots in order to create more housing units.

“Huntington Beach is Exhibit A of what is wrong with housing in California,” Newsom said.

The state’s lawsuit includes a motion for preliminary injunction against Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws.

State law requires permitting agencies to approve or deny ADU applications “ministerially,” using objective standards, within 60 days. If it denies the application, it has to provide the property owner a list of remedies.

This is the second time in recent years that the state and the city have been at loggerheads over state laws created to speed up housing construction to combat the state’s affordable housing and homelessness crises.

It settled in 2020 with the state on a 2019 lawsuit brought by then-Attorney General Xavier Becerra over city leaders’ defiance of minimum affordable housing construction requirements.

“They lost the lawsuit in 2019, and they will lose again,” Newsom said.

California needs to build 2.5 million new homes by 2030,

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Missouri attorney general subpoenas case dismissal list as part of Kim Gardner probe

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Attorney General’s Office issued a wide-ranging subpoena to the St. Louis courts on Wednesday seeking a trove of records as part of a suit to remove Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner from office.

The subpoena offers a further glimpse into the case Attorney General Andrew Bailey is building against Gardner, who Bailey argues has been neglectful of her duty as the city’s top prosecutor.

Bailey’s document asks for, among other things, a list of cases dismissed by Gardner’s office and the average length of time cases are pending — two data points that could be key as Bailey’s office tries to illustrate that Gardner has failed to prosecute some cases while allowing others to languish for years. Those same issues have been repeated targets of criticism of the office in recent years.

In an effort to oust Gardner, Bailey filed a “quo warranto” petition late last month amid a firestorm over prosecutors’ handling of a pending robbery case that left a man free despite violating his bond dozens of times. Police said the man, Daniel Riley, caused a crash that pinned a 17-year-old volleyball player from Tennessee between two cars and resulted in both her legs being amputated.

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Along with the case dismissals, Bailey argued that Gardner’s office has failed to keep victims informed and has failed to review or act upon thousands of cases submitted by St. Louis police.

The attorney general’s office immediately issued a 34-point subpoena to the circuit attorney’s office, seeking records including victim complaints, copies of Gardner’s personnel file and copies of warrant applications considered and refused.

Officials then notified Gardner and her top aides they would be deposed. They also asked for documents from Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green.

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