Texas Senate acquits state Attorney General Ken Paxton in impeachment trial

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Ken Paxton, in the Texas Senate Chamber at Austin, listens to the closing arguments in his impeachment case.

Eric Gay/AP


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Ken paxton listens to the closing arguments in his impeachment case in the Texas Senate Chamber, Austin.

Eric Gay/AP

He was accused of abusing his office to protect a political donor. Paxton was suspended from his job in May after the Texas House of Representatives voted him out. Saturday’s Senate vote automatically reinstates Paxton to his role as attorney general, a position he’s used to create a national profile as an advocate for conservative values and as a policy challenger of Democratic presidents.

Senators deliberated for nearly nine hours before reaching a verdict. The impeachment charges

This verdict is the culmination of a nearly four-month saga that started in May, when the GOP-led Texas House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impeach Paxton. Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, was recused from voting.

Only two Texas lawmakers have ever been removed from their positions after an impeachment trial.

The impeachment charges

This verdict is the culmination of a nearly four-month saga that started in May, when the GOP-led Texas House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impeach Paxton.

The House’s move came after Paxton asked for $3.3 million to settle a lawsuit with four of his former deputies who sued him after being fired shortly after they reported Paxton’s alleged misdeeds to the FBI.

Prosecutors said that in 2019, Paxton asked his top deputies for legal counsel on a disputed records request involving Nate Paul, an Austin businessman who was being investigated by federal law enforcement.

Paxton’s staff researched Paul and found the businessman had multiple bankruptcies and was under investigation from the FBI, so they advised Paxton not to release the documents.

Texas House investigators say a few months later, in 2020, Paxton told one of his deputies he didn’t want his office to help the FBI or the Texas Department of Public Safety on the investigation involving Paul.

Brandon Cammack says he was hired to investigate whether the FBI’s search warrant against Paxton’s associate Nate Paul, which was executed by him on his behalf, was legal. Cammack claims that Paxton did not pay him for his work.

Ricardo B. Brazziell/The Austin American Statesman via AP

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Ricardo B. Brazziell/The Austin American Statesman via AP

Brandon cammack testifies he was hired to investigate whether the search warrant executed by the FBI against Paxton’s friend Nate Paul, was legal. Cammack claims Paxton did not pay him for his work.

Ricardo B. Brazziell/The Austin American Statesman via AP

Brandon Cammack, the hired attorney, testified that he was never paid by Paxton’s office but did do the work. The defense argued this never happened, showing photos as evidence of no changes to countertops. Brandon Cammack, Paxton’s hired attorney, said he never received payment from Paxton’s office, but that he did the work. The defense, however, showed photos to prove that the countertops were not changed. Paxton has built a national profile during his three terms as Attorney General of Texas. That attempt was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Throughout this impeachment process, Paxton has received the support of former President Donald Trump.


Former President Donald Trump (right), shakes hands at a rally in October 2022 with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Nick Wagner/AP

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Nick Wagner/AP

Former president Donald Trump (right), shakes hands at a rally in Robstown Texas, October 2022 with Texas Attorney general Ken Paxton.

Nick Wagner/AP

In a post on Truth Social Wednesday, Trump claimed that RINOs — Republican In Name Only — were trying to undo Paxton’s election.

“Who would replace Paxton, one of the TOUGHEST & BEST Attorney Generals in the Country?” Trump wrote. “Democrats feel very good as they watch the Republicans fight and eat each other up as usual,” Trump wrote. The Republican Chair of the Board of Impeachment told Senators that Paxton had also violated the trust of his supporters. “But they’ve blindly ignored that he only served himself in the end. “

In an unforgettable moment for the prosecution’s case, GOP state Rep. Jeff Leach spoke directly to Republican senators, describing Paxton as a friend and political mentor. “I have lived with Ken Paxton – we’ve travelled together and attended church together. “
Jeff Leach, a Texas state representative, made an emotional final argument for the prosecution. He recounted his friendship with Republican Ken Paxton and urged senators to vote conviction.

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Eric Gay/AP

Texas State Rep. Jeff Leach gave an emotional closing statement for the prosecution. He recounted his friendship with Republican Ken Paxton, but encouraged senators to vote in favor of conviction.

Eric Gay/AP

Leach claimed that Paxton was given many opportunities to respond to questions regarding the allegations, but chose not to. He asked senators to convict, “no mater how painful.” Tony Buzbee said that the House’s allegations were unfounded and that Paxton had been impeached due to his political opponents. He encouraged senators “to seek the truth. What happens next

Paxton is not out of the woods yet. The FBI is looking into the allegations brought forward by his former employees. According to The Associated Press, prosecutors took grand jury testimony from Paxton’s former personal aide Drew Wicker in August.

Paxton has also been under indictment since 2015 for securities fraud, but has yet to face a trial.

Sergio Martinez-Beltran

reports on politics and government for The Texas Newsroom. Sergio Martinez-Beltran

reports on politics and government for The Texas Newsroom.