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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Acquitted After Impeachment Trial: A Recap and What Lies Ahead

September 17, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has concluded, resulting in his acquittal by the GOP-dominated Texas Senate. This highly anticipated trial lasted for two weeks and revolved around allegations of corruption, specifically Paxton’s alleged misuse of his office to protect a real estate developer, Nate Paul. Let’s take a closer look at the key events leading up to his acquittal and what the future holds for Paxton.

The Allegations:

The impeachment charges against Paxton focused on accusations that he used his position to benefit Nate Paul, who had been indicted on federal charges related to false statements to banks. House managers prosecuting Paxton highlighted concerns about his business relationship with Paul and his romantic involvement with Laura Olson, who worked for Paul. They also brought up suspicions about burner  phones and disputes over payments for Paxton’s home renovation project. Former Deputy Attorney General Blake Brickman claimed that Paxton had abused his office to benefit Paul.

Defense vs. Prosecution:

In his defense, Paxton’s attorneys called current employees who testified that they had not witnessed any wrongdoing by Paxton. One significant moment in the trial was Laura Olson’s absence from the witness stand, avoiding public questioning about her relationship with Paxton in front of his wife, State Sen. Angela Paxton. Angela Paxton was barred from voting or participating due to her conflict of interest.

The Senate Jury:

The Texas Senate, consisting of 31 members, served as the jury for Paxton’s impeachment trial. However, only 30 members participated in the final vote. A conviction required a two-thirds majority, which meant 21 votes. With a Senate majority of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats, the impeachment managers needed support from both parties. Ultimately, no more than two Republicans voted in favor of any one charge, leading to Paxton’s acquittal.

What’s Next for Paxton:

With his acquittal, Ken Paxton’s political career remains intact. He is reinstated to his position as Texas Attorney General and maintains his popularity among conservatives nationally. Paxton’s legal challenges are not over, though. He still faces an ongoing federal investigation into the same allegations that led to his impeachment, a disciplinary proceeding related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and felony securities fraud charges dating back to 2015. This impeachment has also caused fractures within the Texas Republican Party, highlighting the divisions surrounding his case.

In conclusion, Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial has reached its conclusion, resulting in his acquittal and reinstatement as Texas Attorney General. However, he continues to face legal challenges on multiple fronts, leaving his political future uncertain.

 

Credit: AP

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