AUSTIN — Attorney General Ken Paxton will remain in office after the Texas Senate voted to acquit the defendant on 16 of the 20 impeachment articles levied against him by the House and subsequently dismissed the remaining four.
After nearly two weeks of trial, less than two-thirds of the senators voted to convict Paxton on any of the items placed before them on Saturday. Paxton, who has been elected to the attorney general’s office by the people of Texas three times, will return to his position and resume carrying out his duties.
As reported by The Dallas Express, the defense worked throughout the trial to poke holes in the impeachment articles, scoring points early throughout the cross-examination of witnesses called by the House.
For example, Ryan Vassar, one of Paxton’s former employees at the Office of the Attorney General who went to the FBI with concerns his boss might have done something illegal, admitted under oath that the whistleblowers had not provided documentary evidence to corroborate their claims.
Similarly, Drew Wicker, Paxton’s former personal assistant, testified that he never saw any sort of agreement between the attorney general and Nate Paul for services and did not believe Paxton had accepted a bribe. After he was shown pictures suggesting that none of the renovations to Paxton’s home — which he was concerned had been paid for by Paul — were carried out and copies of bank records indicating that Paxton paid for other changes himself, Wicker acknowledged that his concerns had been “put to bed.”
Likewise, Brandon Cammack, the outside counsel hired by Paxton to investigate allegations of misconduct by law enforcement, testified that the accusations made against law enforcement by Paul were “convincing” and that his investigation was not to benefit Paul but only to “find the truth.”
Ultimately, lead defense counsel Tony Buzbee told the senators in his closing argument, “You heard in the media that the evidence was 10 times worse than the public even knows … what a farce that was.”
“What we’ve seen is a bunch of supposition, mights, maybes, and could-have-beens,” he continued. “So what is this case about? It’s about nothing.”
Buzbee called the impeachment articles and arguments made by the House “foolishness and silliness.” He identified errors in the language, quipping, “They couldn’t even write the articles correctly.”
“They didn’t prove anything other than they don’t like Ken Paxton,” he declared. “I would suggest to you that this trial has displayed for the country a partisan fight within the Republican Party.”
“It’s a battle for power,” Buzbee continued, suggesting that the whole case was based on assumptions and “much ado about nothing.”
“Assumptions make an ass out of you and me, and that’s what this case has been,” he claimed.
Targeting the whistleblowers whose allegations formed the basis of most of the impeachment articles, Buzbee said, “They took a long walk on a short pier, and the House Managers did the same.”
Ultimately, the Senate agreed and voted to acquit Paxton.