Texas Attorney General Acquitted in Historic Impeachment Trial
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been acquitted in a landmark impeachment trial, highlighting divisions within the Republican Party and his loyalty to former President Donald Trump.
Troy D. Hanson
September 16, 2023
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been acquitted of all charges in a landmark impeachment trial that has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party. Despite facing years of scandal and criminal charges, Paxton's acquittal reaffirms his standing as a powerful defender of former President Donald Trump in America's largest conservative state.
With this verdict, Paxton can reclaim his position as Texas' top lawyer after being temporarily sidelined due to a stunning impeachment by the Texas House three months ago.
However, Paxton's legal troubles are far from over. He still faces trial on felony securities fraud charges and remains under investigation by the FBI. Additionally, his actions in trying to overturn the 2020 election without evidence could jeopardize his ability to practice law in Texas.
The decision was reached after 30 senators deliberated behind closed doors for about eight hours. A two-thirds majority was required to convict Paxton on any of the charges of bribery, corruption, and unfitness for office.
The Trial: A Test of Political Loyalty
For years, Paxton has made a name for himself on the national stage by eagerly engaging in highly contentious legal battles across the country, earning praise from staunch conservatives including former President Donald Trump.
At the heart of this case are accusations that Paxton misused his position in an effort to assist one of his donors – Austin real estate developer Nate Paul. Paul stands accused of providing false information to banks and has maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.
The alarm bells were first rung when eight of Paxton’s former subordinates reported him to the FBI in 2020, prompting a federal investigation that will proceed regardless of the trial's outcome. In fact, federal prosecutors have already taken testimonies from witnesses before a grand jury in San Antonio, as confirmed by two individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the secrecy surrounding the case.
Paxton's legal troubles extend beyond the impeachment proceedings. Apart from the ongoing federal investigation related to the allegations that led to his impeachment, he must also face a bar disciplinary hearing for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Furthermore, there are pending state securities fraud charges dating back to 2015, for which he has pleaded not guilty. However, his legal team has indicated that removal from office might provide an opportunity for a plea agreement to be reached.