Texas Attorney General Paxton has been found not guilty by a jury of his peers regarding the corruption charges.
Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a three-term Republican, was acquitted by the state Senate on Saturday following a two-week trial over corruption allegations centered around one of his wealthy friends and an extramarital affair.
At the conclusion of the trial, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) formally reinstated Paxton as the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the state.
He had been suspended since May when Texas’ Republican-dominated House voted overwhelmingly to impeach Paxton by a vote of 121-23.
Patrick stated that a significant amount of taxpayer money has been squandered on the impeachment process. He further mentioned his intention to request a thorough examination of all expenses related to the impeachment proceedings conducted by the legislative body.
Paxton could rely on having additional supporters in the state Senate, which is predominantly Republican. His wife, Texas state Sen. Angela Paxton (R), represents a suburban district near Dallas and was obligated to be present throughout the trial. However, she was not allowed to participate in the deliberations or voting.
Her recusal made the bar to convict her husband slightly higher, with 21 senators required to oust him instead of 20.
If any of the 16 articles of impeachment led to a conviction, the attorney general would be removed from office permanently. Given the composition of the state Senate with 12 Democrats and 19 Republicans, a conviction would require convincing at least nine Republicans to side with all the Democrats.
It was quite a challenge. None of the articles garnered over 14 “yea” votes.
Ken Paxton has consistently evaded accusations of corruption and misconduct in Texas politics.
He still hasn’t faced trial for securities fraud, even though he was charged with the crimes in 2015. In the recent past, he escaped a federal subpoena by quickly leaving his house and getting into a truck driven by his wife. Strangely enough, there is security footage from about ten years ago showing him taking a $1,000 Montblanc pen that was accidentally left behind by another lawyer at the courthouse security checkpoint.
Paxton’s impeachment trial centered on his connection with Nate Paul, a Texas real estate developer. Paxton faced allegations of using his public position inappropriately to assist Paul.
Following the 2019 FBI raid on Paul’s office, he has been attempting to persuade Paxton to launch an investigation into the individuals conducting the raid, claiming a widespread conspiracy against him. Paxton assisted Paul in obtaining subpoenas against the targeted judges, federal agents, and bank executives by employing external legal representation funded by Texas taxpayers.
According to the Texas Tribune, Brandon Cammack, a young lawyer serving as outside counsel, stated that he felt deceived by Paxton and described the experience as having the rug pulled out from under him.
In 2020, a number of Paxton’s staff members were terminated after they informed the FBI about their worries regarding their boss’ connection with Paul. Paul had contributed $25,000 to Paxton’s second campaign and was suspected of financing Paxton’s home renovations.
The individuals who exposed wrongdoing have come to an agreement to settle for $3.3 million, however, no payment has been made yet due to a dispute regarding the allocation of public funds.
Paxton’s involvement with Laura Olson, an employee of Paul, further complicated the situation. He was charged with bribery in the state Senate due to their relationship. Patrick, who presided over the trial, stated that both parties agreed that Olson would not provide testimony.
Former employees provided testimony stating that Paxton’s extramarital relationship caused tension within the workplace.
Tony Buzbee, an attorney representing Paxton, defended his client by suggesting that if every person in Austin who had an affair was impeached, the process would continue for the next century.
The impeachment managers from the Texas state House contacted approximately 20 witnesses, primarily former aides, to testify at the attorney general’s office. State Representative Andrew Murr (R) expressed in the Senate chamber that Paxton had “betrayed both us and the residents of Texas.”
Buzbee concluded his remarks by stating that the impeachment was essentially a “political witch hunt” carried out by individuals who hold a dislike towards Ken Paxton.
Buzbee stated that this trial has showcased a partisan conflict within the Republican Party, which is essentially a struggle for power, visible to the entire country.
State Representative Jeff Leach (R), who was previously friends with Paxton, directly addressed Buzbee’s accusation during the closing statements of the impeachment managers.
“Mr. Buzbee, you claimed in your closing statement that our presence here is driven by a hatred for Ken Paxton, but you are mistaken. I have held a deep admiration for Ken Paxton for a significant period of time,” Leach expressed. “We have journeyed together, worshipped together, and enjoyed numerous Cowboys and Baylor football games side by side. In fact, we both served as former Baylor student body presidents. I have actively campaigned for Ken, contributed to his cause, and encouraged others to do the same.”
Despite his previous endorsement, Leach stated that Paxton’s actions exceeded acceptable limits, and he felt compelled to act in accordance with what he believed was morally correct.
Leach stated that he believes it is appropriate, despite the discomfort it may cause for both us and you, to vote in favor of supporting the articles of impeachment proposed by the Texas House of Representatives.
Paxton said on social media that he planned to travel to Maine next week to discuss the trial on former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s web series.
He expressed his anticipation, stating that it would be intriguing.
In June, Paul was charged by federal prosecutors for providing false information to banks in order to obtain loans. He entered a plea of not guilty.