Paxton acquittal updates: AG’s wife, a state senator, hugged his attorney after verdicts read
“Paxton acquittal updates: AG’s wife, a state senator, hugged his attorney after verdicts read” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
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Texas Senators have acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton on 16 articles of impeachment. Paxton was accused of misusing the powers of the attorney general’s office to help his friend and donor Nate Paul, an Austin real estate investor who was under federal investigation.
The House impeachment managers insisted that they proved their claims of bribery and corruption, arguing that the jury of 30 senators had no choice but to convict. Paxton’s defense team successfully argued that the case was full of holes, circumstantial evidence and misdirection.
“The speaker and his team rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide official in Texas in over 100 years while paying no attention to the precedent that the House set in every other impeachment before,” Patrick said from the dais after the verdict was finalized.
Patrick was the presiding officer of the trial — effectively the judge — and his feelings on the matter were the subject of much speculation. While he got praise for how he handled certain aspects, like the trial rules, he also drew scrutiny for accepting $3 million from a pro-Paxton group in late June.
Patrick began his remarks by acknowledging he had been “unusually quiet” in recent months because he wanted to respect his role in the process. He followed by unloading on the House for foisting the impeachment upon the Senate on short notice at the end of the regular session.
As Texas Senate Secretary Patsy Spaw read aloud the votes acquitting Republican Attorney Ken Paxton on 16 impeachment articles — and a vote to dismiss the remaining four articles — the only sound in the gallery was the chirp of crickets, pouring rain and the occasional roar of thunder.
Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, sat with a blank expression as she took notes and occasionally looked up at the gallery.
Ken Paxton was not present for the verdict.
His attorney, Tony Buzbee, sat facing the chamber as he listened to the Senate acquit his client. The gallery, which has been fairly empty since the first day of the trial, was moderately filled with tourists and political onlookers. Throughout the vote, House managers looked somber.
Whistleblowers David Maxwell, Ryan Vassar, and Blake Brickman watched in the gallery with solemn expressions as the Senate handed their former boss back his job. Former Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore sat with them.
After the votes on the impeachment were all read, Sen. Paxton gave a quick nod to her staffer sitting in the back of the chamber.
Afterwards, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ripped the House’s impeachment, calling on the Legislature to amend a “flawed” process. Democratic state Sens. Sarah Eckhardt and Roland Gutierrez walked out during his comments.
After the Senate adjourned, Sen. Paxton packed up her bag and hugged Republican state Sen. Bob Hall and her husband’s lawyers before leaving the chamber.
The crickets remained the loudest noise in the room.
— Kate McGee
Suspended attorney general Ken Paxton was not present in the Senate chamber as the senators have filed in to vote on the articles of impeachment in his trial.
Paxton was present Friday for closing arguments and on the first day of the trial while his lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
Senators have completed private deliberations on the 16 articles of impeachment against suspended attorney general Ken Paxton after more than eight hours of deliberations.
A series of votes on each article was expected to begin at 10:30 a.m., according to the Texas Senate website. But it was delayed until 11:10 a.m.
Support from at least 21 senators on any article would lead to Paxton’s conviction and removal from office.
Paxton was present Friday morning for closing arguments, the first time he attended the trial since it opened Sept. 5, when his lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf. It’s unclear if he will return for the votes.
Senators are returning to the Capitol on Saturday morning to resume deliberations in the impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is presiding over the trial, told senators to deliberate between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, or until they’ve reached a verdict. If they do not reach a verdict on Saturday, senators are required to return Sunday at noon. Patrick said he would consider sequestering the senators at the Capitol if they do not reach a verdict by 8 p.m. Sunday.
Once a verdict is reached, Patrick said they will give a 30-minute notice before starting a vote on the Senate floor on whether to convict or acquit on 16 articles of impeachment.
Senators left the Capitol late Saturday after more than six hours of deliberating in the impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton without reaching a final verdict.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had told senators this afternoon to deliberate until at least 8 p.m. They are expected to return Saturday at 9 a.m. to continue deliberations.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/09/16/ken-paxton-impeachment-vote-deliberations/.
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