The impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has entered its fifth and sixth days, with prosecutors making allegations against Paxton for directing his office to conduct sham investigations into the rivals of real estate investor and political donor Nate Paul. Paxton is accused of providing sensitive information about the FBI investigation into Paul's businesses and involving the attorney general's office in a lawsuit between Paul and an Austin nonprofit.
Two of the articles of impeachment against Paxton specifically focus on allegations that he misused his office to aid Paul in obtaining open records related to law enforcement searches on his properties. The House impeachment case centers around accusations that Paxton used his position to benefit Paul, with the hiring of an outside attorney forming one of the articles of impeachment.
The impeachment trial is being decided by Texas state senators, with a two-thirds majority needed in order to remove Paxton from office. The final decision will rest on the votes of nine Republican senators, as all 12 Senate Democrats are expected to vote in favor of impeachment. The decision of these Republican senators may not be based solely on moral or ideological grounds, but rather on their assessment of the future direction of their party.
During the trial, defense attorney Tony Buzbee compared the impeachment of Paxton to the criminal charges faced by former President Donald Trump, who is the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Paxton has been suspended from office since May when the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to impeach him. If convicted, he will be permanently removed from office, and a separate vote will be held to determine whether he can seek office again.
The trial has been marked by various arguments and testimonies from both sides. Paxton's defense team has argued that the impeachment is a sham and questioned the relevance of allegations surrounding his marital impropriety. The prosecution has presented evidence of Paxton's alleged misuse of his office to benefit Paul. The trial has also seen the involvement of Laura Olson, the alleged affair partner of Paxton, although she was deemed unavailable to testify.
Closing arguments took place on Friday morning, with the defense calling the impeachment a sham and criticizing Republicans who do not support Paxton. The jury of state senators then began deliberations, which will be closed to the public.
The impeachment trial of Ken Paxton is a significant event in Texas politics, with an elected official facing potential removal from office due to accusations of abusing his government position. The trial highlights the complexities and challenges of holding elected officials accountable for their actions and decisions. The outcome of the trial will have implications for both Paxton and the future direction of the Texas Republican Party.
0. ““I did everything at his supervision”: Outside lawyer says Ken Paxton approved every step of Nate Paul investigation” The Texas Tribune, 12 Sep. 2023, https://www.texastribune.org/2023/09/12/ken-paxton-impeachment-trial-brandon-cammack
1. “Ken Paxton's Impeachment Is a Battle for the Soul of the Texas GOP” The New Republic, 14 Sep. 2023, https://newrepublic.com/article/175409/impeachment-ken-paxton-texas-gop
2. “Texas AG’s mistress excused from testifying in impeachment trial” The Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/09/13/paxton-texas-attorney-general-mistress
3. “Texas Senate deliberations in AG Paxton impeachment trial spill into second day” CNN, 16 Sep. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/15/politics/ken-paxton-impeachment-texas-attorney-general/index.html
4. “Impeachment trial Day 8: Defense fires back at allegations against Ken Paxton” KUT, 14 Sep. 2023, https://www.kut.org/2023-09-14/impeachment-trial-day-8-defense-fires-back-at-allegations-against-ken-paxton
5. “‘Most important choice': Deliberations underway in rare Texas impeachment trial” ABC News, 15 Sep. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/deliberations-begin-texas-ag-paxtons-impeachment-trial/story?id=103221639