The first day of Ken Paxton‘s impeachment trial included a series of highly anticipated votes, including multiple bids to dismiss every article of impeachment. The motions were soundly defeated. But Paxton’s attorneys succeeded in another key early decision when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, acting in his role as trial judge, ruled that the suspended attorney general could not be forced to testify during impeachment proceedings.
In opening statements, House impeachment managers accused Paxton of allowing a “slow creep of corruption” to taint his office. His lawyers fired back and disparaged the impeachment case against him as a dangerous exercise based on “ignorance, innuendo and outright lies.”
Prosecutors on Wednesday are expected to continue calling witnesses who they hope will bolster their argument that Paxton should be removed from office.
— Robert Downen and Kate McGee
Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial: What to know
Paxton faces several allegations
Suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton is accused of bribery, disregarding his official duty, making false statements and abusing the public trust. Impeachment managers submitted nearly 4,000 pages of evidence ahead of Paxton’s trial in the Senate. Paxton pleaded not guilty.
Texas Senate acting as impeachment jury
Texas senators are considering 16 of 20 impeachment articles. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is acting as judge. Witnesses are testifying under oath, senator-jurors will deliberate privately and votes will be conducted without public debate. The attorney general’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, will sit as part of the court, but will not vote or deliberate.
The trial features several high-profile Texans
Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial involves a massive cast of elected officials, high-profile lawyers, whistleblowers from within his office, an indicted real estate investor and the attorney general’s former personal assistant.
A political donor is at the center of the accusations
Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, a political donor to Ken Paxton, complained to the attorney general that he was the target of conspiracies perpetrated by business rivals, judges and law enforcement as he faced an FBI investigation. Paxton hired an outside attorney to investigate Paul’s claims against the advice of top aides. Paul has since been charged with eight felony counts of making false statements to financial institutions.
Paxton has been mired in legal trouble for years
One of the state’s most powerful Republicans, Paxton was indicted in Collin County for securities fraud in 2015, faces a State Bar of Texas lawsuit accusing him of lying to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and was sued by four executives who were fired from the attorney general’s office after reporting him to law enforcement. Paxton also faces a federal investigation into bribery accusations. Even so, Texas voters have continued to support him, reelecting Paxton in 2018 and 2022. READ MORE.