FIRST ON FOX: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife are the latest elected Republicans to fall victim to “swatting” after a false report using their home’s address was made to authorities.
Addressing the swatting incident in a statement to Fox News Digital, Paxton and his wife, Texas state Sen. Angela Paxton, said they were not at their McKinney home on New Year’s Day when first responders arrived on the scene. The couple described the false report to police as being a “life-threatening” situation.
“On New Year’s Day, a currently unidentified caller made a false report to 911 describing a life-threatening situation at our home in McKinney,” the couple said. “As a result, the City of McKinney Police and Fire Departments quickly and bravely responded to what they believed could be a dangerous environment. We were not home at the time and were made aware of the false report when a state trooper, who was contacted by McKinney police, informed us of the incident.”
“Making false reports to 911 is a crime which should be vigorously prosecuted when this criminal is identified. These fake calls divert resources from actual emergencies and crimes and could endanger our first responders,” the couple continued. “We are grateful for the bravery and professionalism of the men and women serving in the McKinney police and fire departments.”
“It is also important to acknowledge that this ‘swatting’ incident happened weeks after the disgraced Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, his lieutenants, and the Dallas Morning News doxed our family by publicly posting our address,” they added. “We understand some people may not agree with our strong conservative efforts to secure the border, prevent election fraud, and protect our constitutional liberties, but compromising the effectiveness and safety of law enforcement is completely unacceptable.”
The McKinney Police Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the matter.
“Swatting” is a crime that has become prominent in recent years, gaining more steam in the social media age when people’s addresses are easily accessible.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told Fox News Digital recently that swatting is a crime that could be “charged as a form of criminal threats.”
“Swatting constitutes a false police report that can be criminally charged,” Turley said. “Virginia recently passed a new law making swatting specifically a criminal misdemeanor. It can also be charged as a form of criminal threats.”
The incident involving Paxton comes after three Republican lawmakers – Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, and Rep. Brandon Williams of New York – reported “swatting” incidents at their homes after the Christmas holiday.
“This is a crime that flourishes because there is insufficient deterrent,” Turley added. “The anonymity and rare prosecutions combine to fuel this form of criminal harassment. … There is no mystery to how to address these crimes. There must be greater detection and penalties to achieve deterrence.”
The crime targets an individual by calling in a false police report for a violent crime — such as a murder, a hostage situation or other crimes that would require a greater law enforcement response — to the home of the target.
The goal of the false police report is to elicit a SWAT team response by the police to the target’s home. Consequently, swatting draws police resources away from real crimes while the state becomes the unwitting arm to terrorize a person at their own home.
Greene, who has been a victim of the move multiple times herself, announced last week on X that she would be “introducing legislation to make it much easier for law enforcement to arrest and prosecutors to prosecute these criminals” who engage in the false reports.
Over the course of the last year, Paxton has faced an onslaught of accusations from officials in the state, primarily Texas Democrats, who have accused the attorney general of being unfit for office.
Last May, the Texas House of Representatives voted to impeach Paxton over charges of bribery, disregard of official duties and abuse of public trust after hours of debate in an afternoon session – sending the case to the state Senate. The Texas Senate, however, acquitted Paxton of all impeachment articles filed against him for corruption and unfitness for office in September 2023.
Though there was support for impeachment on both sides of the aisle, votes to convict on each charge did not clear the required 21-vote threshold in the Senate. Republican Sens. Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock joined all 12 Democrats to vote in favor of conviction on several charges.
“Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” Paxton said in a statement at the time, thanking his supporters after the verdict was delivered. “The sham impeachment coordinated by the Biden Administration with liberal House Speaker Dade Phelan and his kangaroo court has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, disrupted the work of the Office of Attorney General and left a dark and permanent stain on the Texas House.”
“Now that this shameful process is over, my work to defend our constitutional rights will resume. Thank you to everyone who has stood with us during this time,” he added.
Prior to his acquittal, Paxton faced accusations that he misused his political power to help real estate developer Nate Paul. Paxton’s opponents have argued that the attorney general accepted a bribe by hiring Paul.
Paxton was also previously indicted in June for allegedly making false statements to banks.
Paxton, who was suspended from office pending the trial’s outcome, was not required to attend the proceedings. Paxton’s wife, who has represented the state’s eight district in the Senate since 2019, was required to be present for the whole trial but was prohibited from participating in debate or voting on the outcome of her husband’s trial.
Paxton, who previously served as a member of both the Texas House and Senate, was first elected to serve as the Lone Star State’s attorney general in 2014. He was re-elected to the position in 2018 and 2022.
Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo, Houston Keene, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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