The Texas state Senate’s trial of impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton was set to get under way Tuesday.
The GOP-led state House voted in May to impeach Paxton and suspend him pending trial after its Investigative Committee unanimously ruled to issue 20 articles of impeachment against the Attorney General.
The issuance of the articles, which include bribery, unfitness for office, disregard of official duty and abuse of public trust, comes as Paxton is under an FBI investigation for corruption. He is accused of using his office to assist a donor.
He is accused of using his office to assist a donor. Real estate executive Nate Paul was arrested and booked in June in Austin on an undisclosed felony charge.
Paxton’s defense attorney has said his client will not testify on his own behalf at the Senate trial.
Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton is a state senator. The GOP-controlled state Senate has barred her from from voting in the impeachment trial of her husband.
Even with the state Senate forcing her recusal last month, though, Ken Paxton still has numerous allies among the remaining 30 Senators who will vote on whether to convict him.
For example, the state Senate is led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who, like Paxton, closely links himself with former President Trump. The pair have driven a right-wing policy push for the last decade.
However, Patrick has insisted, “The citizens of Texas can count on the Senate of Texas to have a fair and just trial.”
Along with the state legislators’ investigation, Paxton is also facing a criminal trial for alleged securities fraud. If convicted of the securities fraud charges, Paxton faces up to 99 years in prison.
Only twice before in Texas’ history has its state House impeached a sitting official: Gov. James Ferguson (D) in 1917 and state Judge O.P. Carrillo in 1975.