AUSTIN — Attorneys for the four whistleblowers who sued after they were fired by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday to restart the clock on Paxton’s appeal of their case. This request was made after Paxton’s lawyers would not agree to setting a deadline to finalize a $3.3 million legal settlement by the end of the legislative session in May.

“The Office of the Attorney General and opposing plaintiffs signed a binding Mediated Settlement Agreement weeks ago that maximizes savings to the taxpayer. OAG immediately began to fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Now the plaintiffs have decided to try to undo the agreement by filing a misleading brief with the Texas Supreme Court, all the while coordinating with the media to create drama. We’ll continue to seek a cost-efficient resolution, even while the plaintiffs needlessly drag this process out,” General Litigation Division Chief Chris Hilton said in a statement to KXAN.

The whistleblowers are former deputies to Paxton who say they were fired in retribution for accusing him of malfeasance to law enforcement.

The multimillion-dollar settlement, announced last month, would give back pay to the four former employees and would include an apology from Paxton as well as other concessions. But the agreement needs to be approved by state lawmakers, who have expressed an unwillingness to use taxpayer dollars to settle Paxton’s case. At the request of the parties, the Texas Supreme Court has put the whistleblower case on pause while the two sides look to finalize the deal. But without a deadline, the case could be on pause indefinitely.

“Sadly, we have not been able to reach a final settlement because [the Office of the Attorney General] will not agree to include in the formal agreement a deadline for the legislature to approve funding this session, even though that was the fundamental premise upon which they asked us to negotiate in the first place,” the attorneys said in a statement. “So we’ll go back to court, where the taxpayers will end up paying more to defend OAG than they would to settle this case.”

The attorneys said they would still settle the case if lawmakers approved the $3.3 million settlement this session.

“But we cannot and did not agree to give [the Office of the Attorney General] the benefit of a settlement while the whistleblowers wait in perpetuity for legislative approval,” they wrote.

This is a developing story.

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