Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general, speaks during a panel discussion about the Devaluing of American Citizenship during the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 27, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
CNN  — 

Justice Department prosecutors in Washington, DC, have taken over the corruption investigation into Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

State prosecutor Kent Schaffer, who is separately investigating Paxton, told CNN in an interview that the Justice Department notified him of the change. The yearslong corruption investigation had, until now, been under the control of federal prosecutors in Texas.

The recent takeover by federal prosecutors at Justice Department headquarters in Washington is the most recent development in the investigation of the Texas attorney general, which was initiated after several aides accused Paxton of bribery, abuse of office and other potentially criminal offenses in 2020. It also comes just days after Paxton agreed to a tentative $3.3 million settlement with four of the aides who made the public accusation.

Paxton has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing. In a statement to CNN after the settlement was announced last week, Paxton said he had “chosen this path” to “put this issue to rest.”

The investigation will now be handled by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, according to Schaffer. The Public Integrity Section handles high profile prosecutions of government officials, including in cases of bribery and corruption.

It is not clear what prompted the move to replace the federal prosecutors in Texas on the case.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.

Paxton’s attorney Dan Cogdell said that he had previously asked for prosecutors from the Western District of Texas to be removed.

“Frankly, this is the right thing to do – regardless of what I think about the merits of the investigation itself,” Cogdell said in a statement to CNN. “We had asked the Western District to recuse itself well over a year ago. We were told then that there was no basis for them to recuse. So, I am glad that someone has seen the light we’ve been trying to show them for over [a] year.”

CNN has also reached out to Paxton’s office for comment.

In an interview with CNN, Schaffer said that “there is no reason in the world that [the Texas prosecutors] couldn’t have continued with the prosecution.” He said he worries “Ken Paxton has committed a crime … and he won’t have to answer for it.”

He continued: “This cat’s got nine lives, and it looks like he’s used up about seven or eight of them.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Evan Perez contributed to this report.