DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - Texas' solicitor general who did not join Attorney General Ken Paxton's failed efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has resigned.
Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins informed Paxton's office of his plans to resign on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Paxton later announced Hawkins' departure and the appointment of Judd Stone to fill this vital role within the Office of the Attorney General.
"Kyle Hawkins fought for Texans' rights every step of the way – including arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. His dedication to safeguarding rights is very much appreciated," said Attorney General Ken Paxton. "I look forward to working with Judd Stone in his new role as Texas Solicitor General. His skills, years of experience and expertise are tremendous assets to the Office of the Attorney General. I am positive that he will continue faithfully serving Texas with integrity, honesty, and a strong commitment to the rule of law."
Hawkins' departure is set to be the latest exit of a senior official in Paxton's office since September, when the Republican's top deputies accused him of bribery and abuse of office on behalf of a donor.
All eight of his accusers have since quit or been fired, and their accusations are the focus of an FBI investigation into Paxton.
Neither Paxton's office nor Hawkins immediately returned requests for comment Wednesday.
Solicitor general is one of the most prominent positions in the Texas attorney general's office, where Republican Sen. Ted Cruz once held the job. The solicitor general typically leads and argues cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
But in December, Hawkins left his name off a Texas lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump that asked the Supreme Court to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
The court's rejection of the case amounted to a stark repudiation of a legal claim that was widely regarded as dubious.
Neither Hawkins nor the attorney general's office have said why he did not join the election challenge. Hawkins argued a major case before the Supreme Court as recently as November, during the latest Republican-led effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Paxton has denied wrongdoing after former staff accused him of crimes in the service of a wealthy donor, who also employs a woman with whom the attorney general allegedly had an extramarital affair. Separately, Paxton is awaiting trial on felony charges from 2015 that accuse him of defrauding investors in a Texas startup technology company. He has pleaded not guilty.
Paxton spoke at Trump's rally in Washington last week before the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol. He later made false claims on social media that Trump supporters were not those responsible.
On Wednesday, 47 state attorneys general signed a letter condemning the riot at the Capitol as "a direct, physical challenge to the rule of law and our democratic republic itself."
The letter sent to Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen called on those charged with enforcing the law to ensure that lawless violence does not go unchecked.
Paxton did not join the letter.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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