Jury deliberations begin in Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial

September 15, 2023

A jury of 30 Texas state Senators began deliberations Friday afternoon in the  impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton. ( LINK: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/deliberations-begin-texas-ag-paxtons-impeachment-trial/story?id=103221639 )

Deliberations began just hours after closing arguments took place.

The trial began on Wednesday, September 6 after the GOP-led state House voted in May to impeach Paxton on 16 articles unanimously issued by its Investigative Committee, including bribery, unfitness for office, disregard of official duty and abuse of public trust. The trial is also happening as Paxton is under an FBI investigation for corruption.

Paxton is accused of using his office to assist a political donor. Real estate executive Nate Paul was arrested and booked in June in Austin on making false statements to banks.

The Attorney General, currently under suspension pending the outcome of the trial, did not testify on his own behalf at the Senate trial, but he did plead not guilty to the charges against him. 

Senators heard from some of Paxton’s former top aides-turned-whistleblowers who reported him to the FBI. They stated under oath about Paxton’s efforts to help Paul, including an alleged extramarital affair, burner phones and arguments over who paid for the furnishings in Paxton’s home renovation project.

“I witnessed Attorney General Ken Paxton do brazen things on behalf of Nate Paul. He abused the entire office of the Attorney General of Texas to benefit Nate Paul,” former Deputy Attorney General Blake Brickman testified, “and it got worse and worse and worse.”

Paxton’s defense team countered by called four of Paxton’s current employees who testified that he’d done nothing wrong, and that they were proud to work for him.

Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, is a state Senator, but has been barred from voting in the impeachment trial of her husband. Even so, she was present in the chamber when former top Ken Paxton aide Jeff Mateer connected the alleged extramarital affair to the impeachment charges. 

Even with the state Senate forcing Sen. Paxton’s recusal in June, the Attorney General 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. 

Patrick has insisted, “The citizens of Texas can count on the Senate of Texas to have a fair and just trial.” 

A conviction requires a two-thirds majority, or 21 votes. Anything short of that means acquittal. Republicans hold a 19-12 Senate majority. Even if all Democrats vote to convict Paxton, they would still need nine Republicans to join them in securing a guilty verdict.

PHOTO: Paxton stands between attorneys at impeachment trial

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