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Texas Governor Appoints New Elections Chief Who Briefly Represented Trump In Election Challenge

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — The man Governor Greg Abbott has appointed as the new Texas Secretary of State briefly represented former President Donald Trump in his legal challenge of the 2020 election results.

John Scott, the newly appointed top election official, is an attorney from Fort Worth.

After President Joe Biden's victory last November, Scott was announced as an attorney to represent Trump in his attempt to stop the Pennsylvania election certification. According to the certified results, Biden beat Trump in that state by more than 80,000 votes.

Three days after the announcement Scott filed a motion to withdraw as counsel.

Bryan Hughes, a Texas state senator who wrote the restrictive election overhaul bill signed into law this summer, was also an attorney on that case. He works for Scott's law firm and also withdrew from representing Trump.

Abbott announced Thursday his appointment of Scott. The position has been vacant since Ruth Hughes resigned from the office in May.

"John Scott is a proven leader with a passion for public service, and his decades of experience in election law and litigation make him the ideal choice for the Texas Secretary of State," Abbott said in a statement. "John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections and building the Texas brand on an international stage. I am confident that John's experience and expertise will enhance his oversight and leadership over the biggest and most thorough election audit in the country."

Scott will serve as the interim secretary of state until he is confirmed by the legislature, which is not scheduled to meet again until 2023.

The announcement did not mention Scott's previous work representing the former President.

State Democrats have already criticized the appointment.

"The governor's choice for Secretary of State is unfortunately consistent with his anti-democracy agenda. Abbott is appointing one of the architects of Republicans' big lie that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election to oversee all electoral activity in our state," Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner said in a statement. "The governor had every opportunity to appoint a new Secretary of State during one of his many special sessions to allow the Texas Senate to hold a confirmation hearing. Instead, he waited until the Legislature adjourned, denying Texans the fair and transparent process they deserve.

Scott previously served as a deputy attorney general when Abbott was the Texas attorney general. In 2014, he defended the state's voter ID law against lawsuits from civil and voting rights organizations. He also worked as the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's chief operating officer.

According to Abbott's announcement, Scott also serves as senior adviser and liaison to the governor for Texas border and Mexican Affairs and serves as chief international protocol officer for Texas.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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