Texas AG Ken Paxton's impeachment trial poised to begin Tuesday

September 3, 2023

The impeachment trial of Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is slated to begin on Tuesday, and the eyes of the nation will be on the proceedings in Austin which will pit party members against one of their own, as the Associated Press reports.

Paxton's trial comes months after the GOP-led Texas House of Representatives voted by a 121-23 margin to impeach the state's top lawyer over allegations that he engaged in acts of bribery and serious abuses of the public trust.

Serious allegations

The impeachment and imminent trial stem from an inquiry that was launched by the state House Committee on General Investigating earlier in the year following a request from Paxton to approve a settlement in a wrongful termination case initiated by a group of his former employees, as Fox News explained.

It was the disgruntled workers who earlier requested a probe of Paxton's conduct in relation to an Austin real estate investor who had been under scrutiny from federal law enforcement officials, and whom the former employees believed the AG had improperly acted to protect.

According to the formal articles of impeachment against Paxton, the wrongful termination settlement sought by the AG helped him prevent the revelation of certain facts about his own questionable activities.

Findings from the probe reportedly indicated that Paxton pressured the real estate developer to hire a woman with whom he was romantically entangled and that the AG was provided with home renovation services in exchange for beneficial treatment from his office.

Proceedings poised to commence

The trial on 16 counts will represent the first such proceedings to take place in Texas in roughly 50 years and will be held in the state Capitol.

State senators will fulfill the role of jurors in the trial, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will serve as the presiding officer.

A number of witnesses are expected to provide testimony, and that group may include Paxton himself as well as the aforementioned woman, with whom the married AG has admitted to having an affair.

Citizens interested in observing the trial in person from the gallery will need to queue for passes in order to witness what longtime Texas lobbyist Bill Miller said was “a very serious event” but also “a big-time show.”

Paxton digs in

Though currently under a gag order forbidding him from directly addressing the trial, Paxton delivered remarks to a group of Collin County Republicans gathered near his home over the weekend in which he took thinly veiled swipes at those attempting to secure his ouster, as the Texas Tribune reported.

“I can talk about something that I think has become maybe the leading issue that we need to deal with as a county, and the state needs to deal with it, and that is something known as the Texas House of Representatives and the leadership in the Texas House of Representatives,” Paxton said.

In the crowd during Paxton's remarks was Collin County GOP Chair Abraham George, who offered support for the beleaguered AG. “People do love him for his work. On a lot of things that matter to Texans, he's been on the front lines of that,” he said.

David Russell, a Collin County GOP precinct chair agreed, saying that the citizenry's take on Paxton's conduct has already been rendered and that attempts to remove him from office and potentially bar him from future public positions are illegitimate. “We voted for him. We knew all about it then and they want to bring it back up again because it didn't work in the election,” he declared, but whether that verdict will be allowed by the Senate to stand, only time will tell.

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