The Republican attorney general was suspended in May after the state House impeached him by a bipartisan 121-23 vote. He's only the second-ever statewide official in Texas to undergo an impeachment trial
The Texas state Senate voted to acquit Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton on all 16 articles of impeachment, allowing him to remain in office.
The vote came on Saturday following a two-week trial and a day of deliberating. All but two of the 18 Republican senators in the vote — not including Paxton's wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, who was not allowed to vote — voted to acquit Paxton, 60, on all 16 impeachment articles, per the Associated Press. The attorney general was not present for the verdict.
He did, however, issue a statement via X following his acquittal. "Today, the truth prevailed. I've said many times: Seek the truth! And this was what was accomplished," Paxton said in part.
No article received more than 14 votes to convict Paxton, of which 21 votes were required to do so, according to the Texas Tribune.
Paxton, who became the state's chief legal officer in 2015, has been suspended since May, when the Texas House of Representatives impeached him by a bipartisan 121-23 vote at the recommendation of a Republican-led investigative committee.
He became only the third-ever person to be impeached by the Texas Legislature, and the second statewide office holder. (Democratic Gov. James E. Ferguson was impeached and removed from office in 1917.)
“The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just,” Paxton said at the time, per NBC News. “It was a politically motivated sham from the beginning.”
Paxton's case advanced to the state Senate for trial — which began on Sept. 5 — to determine whether he would be ousted from office. Closing arguments were presented Friday.
To convict Paxton, the state Senate — composed of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats — needed to secure a two-thirds vote. Though barred from voting, Sen. Angela Paxton was still required to attend, adding an extra barrier to conviction.
Paxton’s impeachment in May came after he faced numerous impeachment counts that included bribery and securities fraud charges dating back to 2015, the year he took office. Paxton was accused of convincing investors to buy shares in a startup, without disclosing that he would receive compensation.
He was also accused by four former staff members of using his power and position to protect Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, a friend and political donor. In June, Paul was indicted on federal charges of making false statements to banks.
It’s been alleged by Texas House investigators that Paxton committed at least three felonies in his assistance to Paul, according to the Texas Tribune. Paxton was also accused of spending $72,000 in staff labor to benefit Paul and providing the developer with an internal FBI document that revealed the investigation on him.
It was also alleged that a woman who was having an affair with Paxton was given a job by Paul so she could provide legal assistance. Investigators claimed that the affair came to an end in 2019 when it became known to Paxton’s wife. However, the affair allegedly "resumed and was underway again by 2020," per PBS.
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