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Texas attorney general forced to testify in abortion lawsuit

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was ordered by a federal judge on Tuesday to testify in a high-profile abortion lawsuit after hiding from a process server attempting to hand him a subpoena. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/994edcfaeb612500c029ab4e263dfdce/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was ordered by a federal judge on Tuesday to testify in a high-profile abortion lawsuit after hiding from a process server attempting to hand him a subpoena. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton must testify in a high-profile lawsuit over the state's abortion laws, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Only Paxton and his office can clarify how Texas plans to enforce the rules, meaning the attorney general must testify, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas Robert Pitman said in his ruling.

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A process server attempted to hand Paxton a subpoena in late September, only to have the attorney general hide inside his house for over an hour. He eventually ran outside, dashing to his truck and fleeing the scene to avoid being served. Paxton's wife Angela Paxton, a Texas state representative drove the truck.

Paxton, a Republican, brushed that incident off by saying he feared for his safety after noticing the process server, a stranger outside his home.

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"It's clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they're attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family," he wrote in a Tweet on Sept. 26, calling media attention a "ridiculous waste of time."

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The subpoena was ultimately left outside Paxton's house.

Pitman had initially quashed the summons, but later disagreed with Paxton's assertion that he was served "at the eleventh hour."

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"In this case, Paxton has inserted himself into this dispute by repeatedly tweeting and giving interviews about the Trigger Ban," Pitman said in his ruling.

"It is challenging to square the idea that Paxton has time to give interviews threatening prosecutions but would be unduly burdened by explaining what he means to the very parties affected by his statements."

Paxton, who in November will run for a third term in office, was subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit filed in August by Texas abortion funds. The organization is attempting to resume financing for out-of-state travel for people to have the procedure. The group paused its work just before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and triggered an effective abortion ban in Texas.

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Pitman set a deadline of Oct. 11 for Paxton to iron out details about when and how he will testify.

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