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Patrick appoints Justice Marc Brown as counsel in impeachment trial, orders subpoena compliance or contempt of court

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(The Center Square) – On Friday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced he appointed Justice Marc Brown as counsel to the Presiding Officer for the impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton. Patrick, who leads the Texas Senate, is the presiding officer.

He did so after, on Thursday, he issued an order requiring parties to comply with subpoena requests or face contempt of court.

“Today, pursuant to the Rules of Impeachment passed by the Senate on June 21st, and after several months of searching, I have appointed Justice Marc Brown to assist me during the upcoming impeachment trial, which will begin on September 5th, 2023,” Patrick said in a statement. “I was looking for a candidate with real-life courtroom experience as a lawyer and a judge who would serve as counsel and work side-by-side with me through this process.”

He said, “Justice Brown meets these criteria with his years of front-line experience as a courtroom lawyer and trial court judge and also brings a well-rounded perspective from his experience as a former appellate justice. I am pleased to have found such a well-qualified candidate, and I am confident he will further the Senate’s pursuit of a fair and impartial trial.”

Justice Marc Brown served in Harris County as Place 4 Justice on the 14th Court of Appeals. He also served as a judge presiding over the 180th District Court. He received his undergraduate degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

Houston-based attorney Jared Woodfill, who sued Patrick over a gag order he issued preventing legislators from discussing the trial with constituents, arguing it is unconstitutional, told The Center Square that Brown is an astute jurist.

He said, “I have known Judge Brown for many years. He supported the local party when I was the chairman,” referring to the Harris County GOP. Brown “had a good judicial temperament and a sharp legal mind,” he said.

Patrick made the announcement after he issued an order on Thursday requiring recipients of subpoenas to comply or be held in contempt of court.

In a three-paragraph order, he said, “The Court hereby orders any recipient of a subpoena requiring the production of documents to cooperate with the party requesting the subpoena and produce any documents encompassed by a subpoena that are relevant to the trial of impeachment.”

The order also defines what a relevant document is.

Subpoena recipients “must produce documents in existence and within the recipient’s possession, custody, or control,” the order states. This excludes publicly available information or information related to attorney-client privilege.

“In order to promote timely and fair pre-trial discovery, this court favors the production of any document that may be relevant unless a privilege applies. Any recipient who has yet to fully comply with a subpoena shall complete production within seven days from the date of this order or file an affidavit with the court … stating the recipient has no discoverable documents.”

Failure to comply with his order, Patrick says, “may result in contempt of court.”

All motions filed by the court (the Senate), House Managers and Paxton’s attorneys, are published online and available to the public.

The trial begins Sept. 5.

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