Senate Denies Paxton’s Pretrial Motions

Ken Paxton Speaks to Media
Suspended Texas Ag Ken Paxton | Image by Ken Paxton/Facebook

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate voted to reject all of Attorney General Ken Paxton’s motions to dismiss on the first day of his historic impeachment trial.

Only a bare majority of senators were necessary to throw out any of the articles of impeachment lodged against Paxton as opposed to the two-thirds vote required to convict him, per the trial rules established by the Senate.

The first pretrial motion addressed Tuesday morning was Paxton’s request for a summary judgment to dismiss all articles for lack of evidence. The motion was rejected in a 6-24 vote.

The senators then rejected Paxton’s motion to exclude evidence regarding actions taken prior to his current term in office. The margin was narrower, with a final vote of 8 to 22.

Paxton’s motion to dismiss all the articles of impeachment except Article 8 was likewise defeated in an 8-22 vote. A motion to quash the articles failed 6-24. Likewise, Paxton’s request for a bill of particulars was killed in another 6-24 vote.

Individual motions to dismiss specific articles had also been filed by Paxton’s team, but they were all rejected.

The separate motions to dismiss Article 1 and Article 2 were denied by a margin of 8-22, while the motion to trash Article 3 failed 7-23. Similarly, the motion to dismiss Article 4 was rejected 6-24, while the effort to throw out Article 5 went 8-22, and Article 6 failed by 9-21.

The embattled attorney general’s request to toss Article 8 was also rejected, but this time in a 10-20 vote, the most favorable spread for Paxton thus far. The joint motion to dismiss Articles 7 and 15, which had to do with whistleblower complaints of alleged criminal misconduct and wrongful termination at the Attorney General’s Office, failed 9-21.

Another joint motion to toss Articles 9 and 10 was defeated in a 6-24 vote. A request to either dismiss or hold Articles 16 through 20 in abeyance was also rejected 9-21.

The final pretrial motion made by Paxton was a bid to dismiss evidence allegedly collected in violation of the law. It failed 8-22.

The six senators who consistently voted in Paxton’s favor were Sens. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Bob Hall (R-Rockwall), Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), and Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound).

The core six were often joined by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) and Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), while others, such as Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), only voted in support of a few of Paxton’s motions.

Motions that did not have to deal with the dismissal of articles of impeachment were handled by Lt. Gov. Patrick as the court’s presiding officer.

On a motion by House managers to clarify rules regarding timekeeping and phones, Patrick explained that the issue had been handled before the start of the trial, saying that there would be a total of 27 hours for each side. He also took no additional action on several other motions that had been addressed by other orders.

Patrick did, however, deny Paxton’s motion to exclude evidence related to certain political donations.

Most significantly, Patrick granted Paxton’s motion to prevent the attorney general from being compelled to testify.

The voting on the pretrial motions occurred shortly after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the senators, and court officers took their respective oaths, as reported by The Dallas Express.

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