AUSTIN — Drew Wicker, the former personal assistant for Attorney General Ken Paxton, testified that he never believed that his boss had been bribed and that any concerns he had were “put to bed.”
Wicker, who spent more time with Paxton than anyone else through his job, had originally told House investigators that he had cause for concern due to a conversation he heard regarding renovations being done on the Paxton’s home.
On direct examination, Wicker testified that he heard the contractor doing the work on the Austin residence tell General Paxton that he would have to “check with Nate” whether $20,000 alterations to the kitchen countertops and cabinets would be possible.
The House Board of Managers has alleged that the “Nate” referred to is Nate Paul, an Austin businessman and one-time donor to Paxton. Many of the impeachment articles center around Paxton’s relationship with Paul, with the implication that Paxton provided OAG services to Paul in exchange for various benefits.
One of those benefits, the House claimed, was that Paul paid for expensive countertops and other renovations at Paxton’s Austin home.
Article 10 states, “While holding office as attorney general, Warren Kenneth Paxton engaged in bribery.”
“Specifically, Paxton benefited from Nate Paul providing renovations to Paxton’s home,” the article continued. “Paul received favorable legal assistance from, or specialized access to, the office of the attorney general.”
Wicker was the sole source for the claim that Paul had provided renovations to Paxton’s home based on the phrase he overheard.
The contractor told Paxton that “he would check with Nate about several items,” and Wicker was concerned that the contractor was referring to Nate Paul. The staffer went to two senior members of the OAG, who recommended that he ask Paxton directly about his concern.
“He assured me that that was not the case,” Wicker explained, noting that he still harbored some concerns.
However, on cross-examination, Tony Buzbee showed Wicker before and after pictures of Paxton’s kitchen, revealing that no changes had been made to the kitchen during the renovations at all.
“You’re not accusing him of bribery, are you?” Buzbee asked.
“I am not,” Wicker explained.
“You never saw Nate Paul and General Paxton reach any sort of an agreement, did you?” he continued.
“No, sir,” Wicker responded.
“You have no knowledge that Nate Paul ever did anything for General Paxton other than buy him lunch?” Buzbee asked.
Wicker confirmed that picking up an occasional lunch tab was the only thing he knew that Paul did for the AG.
After Buzbee showed Wicker pictures of the Paxton kitchen in 2020 and 2023, which revealed that no significant renovations had been made, Wicker admitted, “The countertops appear to have not been altered.”
“Can we agree now, Drew, that your concerns have been put to bed?” Buzbee asked.
Buzbee also showed Wicker bank statements, which he said proved Paxton paid for other home renovations from his own bank account.
The revelations made in Wednesday’s session of the impeachment trial were similar to other moments in the trial in which witnesses called by the House seemingly undermined key elements of the argument for impeachment, as reported by The Dallas Express. The defense has endeavored to undercut several impeachment articles so far in the case.