PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed the U.S. government's securities fraud lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, though the Republican still faces criminal charges of duping wealthy investors.

But the ruling by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant on Thursday is a significant victory for Paxton, who is scheduled to stand trial in May on felony securities fraud charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, Paxton would face five to 99 years in prison.

The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was nearly identical to the case brought by criminal prosecutors. Both allege Paxton misled investors in a high-tech Texas startup by not disclosing he was being paid by the company.

Mazzant ruled Thursday that Paxton had "no plausible legal duty" to disclose his arrangement.

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