Impeached Paxton Awaits Senate Trial

Impeached Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., August 5, 2022. | Image by Brian Snyder/File Photo, REUTERS

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s political future now rests in the hands of the Texas Senate after the House voted to impeach him last week.

As reported by The Dallas Express, the House voted 121-23 to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton on 20 articles of impeachment that alleged he engaged in a pattern of bribery, abuse of office, and misapplication of government resources.

Many of the allegations centered around Paxton’s relationship with Austin-based real estate developer Nate Paul.

Impeachment does not indicate guilt or validation of any of the allegations. However, the matter will now go to the Senate for a full trial.

Several senators issued the same statement following the impeachment by the House, explaining that they cannot discuss the issue with constituents since they will be serving as jurors.

The group statement explained, “The matter will now come to the Texas Senate for trial. Under the Texas Constitution, the Senate will serve like a jury. Because we are jurors, we cannot discuss the case with anyone. Of course we welcome and encourage communication from our constituents, but we cannot engage in discussions about the trial.”

“Please do not be alarmed or concerned when we do not communicate directly with you about the case. We cannot do that. Know that we will faithfully follow the constitution and the law, and we will honor our sworn oaths,” the statement concluded.

Senators who issued the group statement included Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston), and Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).

Some senators issued separate statements offering more explanation.

Sen. Phil King (R-Weatherford) said in a statement received by The Dallas Express that the impeachment was “an extraordinarily serious matter that the Texas Constitution states must now move to the Texas Senate for trial. All facts and evidence, including the testimony of witnesses, will be considered.”

“I have already received numerous calls, texts and emails concerning the Senate’s role,” King noted. “Communications from my constituents is always needed and appreciated.”

“However, in this unique instance, please understand that I cannot engage in any discussion concerning the merits of the House impeachment articles. As a member of the Senate, I am in effect now serving as a juror and must operate under the restrictions of that responsibility,” King said. “I have asked my Senate staff to consider themselves under the same restrictions.”

“I am, of course, eager to visit with you on any other matter and I look forward to being back home and traveling the district soon,” King concluded.

One senator who has not issued a statement on the coming trial is Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), Ken Paxton’s wife. There is no requirement that she must recuse herself from the process, meaning it is possible Sen. Paxton will help decide Attorney General Paxton’s fate.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, meanwhile, has announced the formation of a Senate committee to set the rules for the coming trial.

“Today, the Texas Senate received Articles of Impeachment for Attorney General Ken Paxton. The Senate will follow its constitutional duty and I appointed a committee to develop proposed rules and procedures for the matter,” Patrick explained in a statement sent to The Dallas Express. “When the rules are drafted, a date will be set for when the Senate will resolve into a court of impeachment to consider the articles.”

The special committee will be chaired by Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) with Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) serving as vice chair. The other members include Sens. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Phil King (R-Weatherford), and Royce West (D-Dallas).

The committee will present its recommendations on June 20, and Patrick will set a date for the trial’s beginning no later than August 28, according to a resolution passed in the evening on May 29.

Ken Paxton has vigorously denounced the impeachment, condemning the House for its process and for not allowing him to present exculpatory evidence.

“The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just. It was a politically motivated shame from the beginning,” Paxton claimed following the vote.

“My office made every effort to present evidence, testimony, and irrefutable facts that would have disproven the countless false statements and outright lies advanced by Speaker Dade Phelan and the Murr-Johnson panel he appointed,” Paxton continued. “Unfortunately, they refused to consider anything that would interfere with their desired result.”

A number of national Republicans have voiced support for Paxton, including U.S. Representative Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and former president Donald Trump.

While a finalized date for the trial has not been set, Paxton has been suspended in the interim. Currently, First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster has assumed the responsibilities pending an appointment by Gov. Greg Abbott.

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  1. Impeached Paxton Awaits Senate Trial – Round Up DFW - […] Dallas ExpressMay 30, 2023Uncategorized […]
  2. Texas State Senate Survey Information – Lone Star Project - […] Released a general blanket statement about being diligent with the proceedings but also not being able to discuss. […]

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