Dallas, TX – Notorious anti-cop civil rights attorney Lee Merritt announced Saturday that he’s going to run against Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton in the next election.
Merritt made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter on March 20.
“I am running for Attorney General of Texas,” the video was captioned. “Texas deserves an attorney general that will fight for the constitutional rights of all citizens.”
Merritt filmed the video outside with his dog at sunrise and said he was doing so because he had “accidentally made an announcement yesterday that I was running for Texas attorney general.”
“I intend to run,” the attorney assured his followers. “I just didn’t plan to announce yesterday.”
He said he was talking to a reporter about the lack of resources for mental health crisis victims in Texas and whose responsibility it was to train police officers not to shoot people before they can get them to the mental health clinics.
“It’s Ken Paxton’s responsibility and I’ve been telling Ken Paxton that for a while, but he blocked me,” Merritt said in the video. “And I said if he didn’t do his job then I’ll take his job. It’s clear he doesn’t want to do his job so I decided to go ahead and take it. I’ll announce later.”
I am running for Attorney General of Texas.
Texas deserves an attorney general that will fight for the constitutional rights of all citizens. pic.twitter.com/JhE9HSPc8q
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) March 20, 2021
The controversial attorney is not a member of the Texas Bar.
In 2018, Merritt was hit with 16 contempt charges that alleged he had been practicing law in Texas without a license, KXAS reported.
To resolve the complaints against him, the attorney signed an agreement not to practice law in Texas for state cases.
Merritt is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, KXAS reported.
Under the terms of the agreement, he may only practice federal law in Texas.
But that isn’t a barrier to entry for the 2022 attorney general race.
The Texas Secretary of State’s website showed that candidates for state attorney general are not required to be practicing attorneys or judges.
Earlier the same year he signed that agreement, Merritt had to issue a formal public apology to a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper after he accused the veteran law enforcement officer of sexually assaulting Sherita Dixon-Cole, KTVT reported.
Thanks to Merritt’s involvement, a routine DWI arrest became a national, race-fueled controversy based on an entirely false narrative.
Almost in real time, Merritt accused the trooper of offering to let Dixon-Cole go from a DWI stop in Ellis County in exchange for sexual favors.
He claimed that when his client denied the trooper, he “forcefully groped, fondled and vaginally penetrated during a prolonged arrest that included assaults outside and inside of the police vehicle,” KTVT reported.
The attorney also said the trooper had threatened to kill Dixon-Cole’s boyfriend and plant a gun on him if she told him what had happened.
Activist blogger Shaun King picked up the story and posted it to social media – naming the trooper – before the woman had even been booked into the Ellis County Jail.
King didn’t even claim that these were allegations, he told everybody that this actually just happened in the past few hours.
The response was immediate as the story went instantly viral.
The DPS trooper and another trooper by the same name began receiving death threats.
DPS officials immediately pulled the dashcam and bodycam videos of the arrest and saw that Dixon-Cole’s story was entirely made up.
“It was maddening,” Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson told KTVT when the videos were released to the public. “This is tragic because society is rightfully demanding that police officers conduct themselves beyond reproach. The world now knows the trooper in this case conducted himself beyond reproach.”
“And yet he still was subject to this horrible abuse across the country,” Wilson added.
The district attorney decided not to press charges against Dixon-Cole for her entirely fabricated story to the Ellis County correctional officer and Merritt.
Wilson said that in order to charge her, she would have had to make the false complaint about the trooper to a sworn peace officer.
Ellis County correction officers are not sworn peace officers.
Merritt apologized for his role in the false accusations after the dashcam and bodycam videos were released, KTVT reported.
“It is deeply troubling when innocent parties are falsely accused and I am truly sorry for any trouble these claims may have caused… I take full responsibility for amplifying these claims to the point of national concern,” the attorney said.
Merritt has represented the families of several people who were killed in officer-involved shootings in Texas.
His clients have included the family of Botham Jean, who was fatally shot by former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger when she was returning home from her shift, entered the wrong apartment, and mistook Jean for a burglar.