AUSTIN, Texas (KEYE) — UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the new court date for Nate Paul, Austin developer at the center of Ken Paxton's impeachment and who is facing federal charges.
A once-prominent Austin developer and close associate of Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's tied into Paxton's impeachment, was indicted on eight federal charges of making false statements to creditors and mortgage lenders, court records show.
Nate Paul appeared in a federal court on Friday, though he was not arraigned and did not enter a plea; instead, he was only read his charges and rights, after he was arrested Thursday afternoon. He was set to appear again before the court on June 15 for an arraignment, but it has now been reset to June 26 at 11 a.m. after Paul's legal team submitted a motion to reschedule the arraignment and was approved by the judge.
Paxton was not mentioned in any of the charges, or in the 23-page indictment at all. Conversely, Paul is largely intertwined with the Paxton impeachment investigation, with many of the charges stemming from how Paxton may have assisted Paul following the word of this federal investigation.
In 2019, Paul declared several bankruptcies and faced a raid by federal investigators on his properties. In the ensuing months, investigators with the House of Representatives alleged Paul and Paxton became closely connected, including Paxton possibly intervening in the federal investigation into Paul.
A whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton was settled earlier this year, and, as House investigators noted, each of the allegations from the lawsuit revolves around Paul. Paxton requested taxpayer funds be used to settle the suit, which resulted in the covert House investigation.
In a statement on Friday, Paxton's attorney, Tony Buzbee, said, “The charges against Paul evidently have nothing to do with Attorney General Ken Paxton. Nothing whatsoever. That should speak volumes as to how weak this impeachment effort is.”
Across Paul's eight federal charges, he's accused of misleading lenders and affiliates in Texas, California, Connecticut, New York, and Ireland, totaling millions of dollars in misrepresentation. In one charge, for instance, Paul is accused of reporting he had as much as $14 million in a bank account when he had a little more than $12,000. In another instance, Paul allegedly insinuated he had 100% of the limited liability company interests in a company, making him the sole owner and control when another company reportedly held control over it.
Earlier this week, Buzbee attempted to discredit the alleged ties between Paxton and Paul, particularly revolving around an alleged gift of home renovations Paul gave to Paxton. The House investigation insinuates that Paxton and his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, wanted to upgrade their home to include granite countertops, and Paul may have been responsible for upgrades. Buzbee showed photos of tile countertops, purportedly the Paxtons', with receipts for the renovations.
"We have the receipts," Buzbee said in a press conference on Wednesday, showing the alleged receipt on a projector screen. "This is the type of evidence we tried to offer them.”
A Wall Street Journal article reports that the receipt shown on Wednesday indicated further connections between Paxton and Paul, with the business offering the renovations allegedly having ties to Paul.
After his hearing on Friday, Nate Paul was released from custody on conditions that he not travel internationally and may only travel outside of Texas if he provides advance notice and an itinerary. He is allowed to freely travel across Texas.