Texas AG Ken Paxton Acquitted On Impeachment Articles, Will Return To Work
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted on 16 articles of impeachment Saturday, marking the end of a historic trial centered on allegations that he abused his office to help an Austin real estate developer.
The vast majority of Republican senators stood by Paxton, with no articles receiving more than 14 of the 21 votes required to convict, per The Texas Tribune. The landslide win for Paxton comes after nearly 70% of House Republicans voted to impeach him in May.
Gov. Greg Abbott reiterated his support for Paxton in the aftermath of the trial, posting on X, formerly Twitter, that he looks forward to picking up where he and the AG left off.
The jury has spoken.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 16, 2023
Attorney General Ken Paxton received a fair trial as required by the Texas Constitution.
I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach. pic.twitter.com/OQo0XHIVWj
Paxton pleaded not guilty to the charges and wasn't present for most of the trial.
More than a third of the impeachment articles involved Paxton’s relationship with Nate Paul, CEO of World Class Capital.
Whistleblowers in the AG’s office accused Paxton of giving Paul unfettered access to information that could help him derail an FBI probe into Paul’s business dealings. In exchange, Paul footed the bill for renovations at Paxton’s home and helped him to hide an extramarital affair, impeachment managers alleged.
Paul rose to prominence about a decade ago for having a 9M SF property portfolio across downtown Austin, much of which he acquired on the cheap during the Global Financial Crisis. He was indicted in early June on eight counts of felony financial crimes but has denied any wrongdoing.
Paxton’s acquittal means he can immediately return to work, ending the automatic suspension triggered by the House vote to impeach, according to the Tribune.
But the not-guilty verdicts will likely be inadequate in eradicating the discord that has been sown over the course of the trial, an event that Paxton’s attorney Tony Buzbee said was motivated by fractures within the Republican Party, according to CNN.
“The only evidence we have in this case is they don’t like Ken Paxton,” Buzbee said.
Paxton’s office has been mired in criminal charges and scandal for years. Republican state Rep. Andrew Murr, chair of the House impeachment managers, pointed to that pattern in his closing arguments.
“He may claim to be one of us. But unlike the public servants here today, he has no regard for the principles of honor and integrity,” he said.
Paul didn't appear at Paxton’s trial and has been out on bail since his arrest in June, per The Real Deal. His trial will begin next year.
While he has eluded impeachment, Paxton still faces state securities fraud charges in a trial that was delayed until the end of impeachment proceedings. He has also been under FBI investigation since 2020, though no charges have been brought to date, and is caught up in a disciplinary investigation over his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.