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Developer Nate Paul Conspicuously Absent As Ken Paxton Impeachment Trial Opens


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial kicked off on Tuesday with the real estate developer at the center of more than a third of the impeachment charges nowhere to be found.

Ken Paxton

Paxton faces 16 impeachment charges that include accusations of bribery, dereliction of duty and disregard of official duty. World Class Capital CEO Nate Paul is named in six of the charges and alluded to in others.

But Paul was not present at the proceedings Tuesday and was not subpoenaed either, so it is unlikely he will appear at all, an unnamed source told The Real Deal. Paxton himself appeared in order to plead not guilty Tuesday morning, but did not return after lunch, the Texas Tribune reported.

It is unclear whether Paxton will be back for the rest of the trial. He will not be forced to testify, according to rules for the trial approved by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Paxton “turned the keys” of the attorney general’s office over to Paul so Paul “could use the power of the peoples’ law firm to punish and harass his enemies,” said state Rep. Andrew Murr, a Republican from Junction who is helping lead the proceedings. Paul returned the favor by helping Paxton hide an extramarital affair and remodeling Paxton’s home, among other alleged favors Paxton tried to conceal, he said.

Paul faces eight counts of felony financial crimes related to the case. Bank transfer records showed Paxton paid $121K to Cupertino Builders, a company allegedly linked to Paul.

Paxton’s lawyers called for the case against him to be dismissed, claiming the articles of impeachment are too vague, misinterpret state law and don’t constitute grounds for impeachment.

Tony Buzbee, the Houston-based attorney and Republican politician representing Paxton, said Tuesday that the case “is a whole lot of nothing.” If the impeachment is successful, Buzbee said, it would set a perilous precedent for any elected official.

But Murr argued that Paxton’s conduct does not need to be criminal to justify his removal from office.

“Wrongs justifying impeachment don’t have to be crimes,” Marr said during a 17-minute speech. “Wrongs justifying the impeachment are broader than that because they have the purpose of protecting the state, not punishing the offender.”

The Senate overwhelmingly declined to dismiss the articles of impeachment Tuesday by a vote of 24-6, the Texas Tribune reported. 

Apart from Paul, impeachment investigators have inquired about Paxton's own real estate dealings. In June, they uncovered a $3.5M buying spree that Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, went on between July 2021 and April 2022. The properties included a five-bedroom luxury lodge in Oklahoma, a townhouse and two rental homes in Florida, and parcels of land in a Utah ski town and on Maui, Hawaii.

Angela Paxton is barred from voting in the impeachment trial but is sitting as part of the court. The Texas Tribune reported the McKinney Republican saluted and waved to supporters from the chamber floor.