Fired Texas Ranger admits he pretended not to hear to throw off Paxton attorney
Ranger was fired in November 2020 for insubordination.
On fourth day of the impeachment trial of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a key witness for the prosecution, fired Texas Ranger David Maxwell, admitted under oath that he was pretending he couldn’t hear the questions asked of him by Paxton’s attorney during his cross examination “to throw him off.”
Dan Cogdell, principal and founder of the Houston-based Cogdell Law Firm, which specializes in criminal defense, cross examined Maxwell on Friday afternoon.
He said he knew Maxwell since 1993 during the aftermath of the 51-day federal siege on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Cogdell represented Clive Doyle, one of the group’s leaders; Maxwell led an investigation into the federal siege that caused the death of 75 people, including children.
Cogdell referred to Maxwell as a “Texas Ranger hall of famer” and said he had great respect for him. After working for the Texas Department of Public Safety for nearly 40 years, Maxwell led the law enforcement division at the Office of the Attorney General under Paxton.
Maxwell was fired in November 2020 for insubordination for, among other things, refusing to investigate whether a search warrant had been tampered with that was used by the FBI to raid Austin real estate developer Nate Paul’s home. Maxwell later sued for wrongful termination.
His discussions with the House General Investigating Committee were the basis of some of the 20 articles of impeachment levied against Paxton. The charges, based on unsworn witness statements provided by four witnesses who testified so far, as well as others, include bribery, abuse of public trust, being unfit for office, among others. Four articles were held in abeyance.
After roughly an hour and a half of Maxwell appearing not to hear questions asked by Cogdell, pausing after being asked a question and then asking Cogdell to repeat the question, Maxwell later admitted he was pretending not to hear to “throw off” Cogdell.
Earlier in the line of questioning, Cogdell pointed out that Maxwell had a hearing aid and said he would speak louder into the microphone. However, when asked questions by other attorneys, Maxwell did not appear to have the same hearing problem.
By 4 pm, Cogdell addressed his nonresponsiveness in his line of questioning.
“Just so we are clear, you are a fellow who has taught folks how to testify,” Cogdell said.
“What? Say it again?” Maxwell said, as he had asked throughout his entire cross examination.
“Why is that every time I ask you” a question, “you suddenly can’t hear the question?” Cogdell asked.
“Actually by testifying, I learn by experience,” Maxwell replied.
“Is that one of the things you learn by experience Ranger, to pause and act like you haven’t heard the question?” Cogdell asked.
Maxwell paused, said, “maybe,” and smiled.
The House managers and their lead attorneys and some members of the jury laughed.
“What did you learn?” Cogdell asked in response.
“I learned it throws you off,” Maxwell replied, smiled and appeared to laugh.
“Does it?” Cogdell said, “and that’s your intent, Ranger, rather than testifying to the truth and giving direct answers your game is to throw people off?
“Is that where we’re going Ranger? Is that where we’re going?”
“No,” Maxwell replied.
“That’s what you just said. That’s what you just suggested,” Cogdell said.
“I just said that I do sometimes pause,” Maxwell replied, and sat in silence.
See the exchange here.