A judge has ruled that Donald Trump can keep his legal defense against fraud charges he was forced to pay out of the state of Texas.
A three-judge panel of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday upheld a lower court ruling that Texas’ attorney general should be given discretion to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Trump.
The court found that attorney general Beth VanDyke is qualified to review a state attorney general’s decision to prosecute a defendant.
But the judge said that it was not clear that VanDyer is the proper person to make that decision.
In addition, she said, the attorney general has not shown that Trump is likely to have been able to obtain a fair trial.
VanDykes attorney general is also a Republican.
Trump has said he was “very grateful” to her for representing him.
The Trump campaign had argued that Van Dyer’s decision was the correct one.
Trump is now in federal prison on charges of fraud, embezzlement and making false statements.
He has maintained his innocence.
Trump’s campaign has sued the attorney’s office and VanDyers office, accusing them of filing false criminal charges.
Judge Susan McKeown on Monday ruled that Van Dyke has authority to review whether the Texas attorney general violated the state’s open-records law by making a recommendation to pursue the criminal charges, and that the attorney-general must follow that recommendation.
She said it was unclear what the attorney would do if Van Dykes office did not recommend charges, so she could not say.
The attorney general must consider the attorney who is investigating the charges and then decide whether they are warranted, she wrote.
McKeown said the attorney had “the discretion to make the final decision whether or not to pursue” charges against the president.
Lawyers for Van Dykees office had argued in court papers that the office should not be allowed to review any criminal charge against Trump because she was not a public official.
They had said that she was acting in her capacity as an official in an office that is required to disclose all criminal charges filed against the President.
The ruling is not binding on the state attorney-generals office, McKepool said, but it means that VanDays office will not be given that authority.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.