By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's long-delayed trial on securities fraud charges from 2015 will take place in Houston, a court ruled Wednesday, dealing the Republican another setback as he awaits a separate impeachment trial.

It remains unclear, however, when Paxton might finally have his day in court on felony charges of defrauding investors in a tech startup.

For now, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a decision by a judge who originally oversaw the case to move the proceedings out of Paxton's hometown near Dallas. Paxton has spent years fighting to keep the trial in Collin County, where he maintains wide support among GOP activists and his wife, Angela Paxton, is a state senator.

The ruling by Texas' highest criminal court comes as Paxton faces removal from office following his historic impeachment by the state House in May. A trial in the Texas Senate is set to begin no later than August.
An attorney for Paxton has not responded to an email seeking comment on the decision.

Brian Wice, a special prosecutor who was appointed to the securities fraud case after Paxton was indicted, applauded the ruling.

"We're gratified but not surprised that the Court recognized that this defendant must stand trial before a Harris County jury and a judge who will follow the law," he said in a statement.

The case is among the 20 articles of impeachment that the Texas House of Representatives brought against the state's top lawyer. Other impeachment charges surround Paxton's relationship with Nate Paul, an Austin real estate developer who has been indicted on charges of making false statements to banks to obtain more than $170 million in loans.

If convicted of the securities fraud charges, Paxton faces up to 99 years in prison.

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