HomeTop StoriesTexas officials react to Attorney General Ken Paxton's acquittal

Texas officials react to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s acquittal

Sept. 18—AUSTIN — The Texas Senate voted to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton on Saturday after nearly 24 hours of deliberation. He returns to the office where he was suspended.

Paxton was acquitted of all sixteen charges brought against him, including corruption, neglect of official duties and constitutional bribery, many of which were related to his relationship with Austin real estate developer and friend Nate Paul.

Paxton has maintained his innocence.

He is the first Texas official to face impeachment in more than a hundred years.

“Today the truth triumphed. The truth could not be buried by mud-slinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” Paxton said in a statement. “Now that this shameful trial is over, my work defending our constitutional rights will resume.”

Two-thirds of the Senate – or 21 votes – were needed for conviction. There are 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats in the Senate. State Sen. Angela Paxton, a Republican and wife of Paxton, was not allowed to vote or participate in the deliberations.

While the twelve Democrats voted for most charges, no more than two Republicans ever voted for impeachment. Secretaries of State Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock were the only two Republicans to vote in favor of impeachment. They will not be eligible for re-election until 2026. The six Republicans up for re-election in 2024 – Secretaries of State Paul Bettencourt, Phil King, Tan Parker, Joan Huffman, Donna Campbell, Drew Springer – voted to acquit on each charge.

Four remaining articles that had been suspended were also rejected by a Senate vote of 19-11.

“The Senate is full of cowards, except for Senator Nichols of Jacksonville,” said Frankston native Stan Perry. “I am proud of him for recognizing the bribery and corruption by AG Paxton, who abused his office and the public trust.”

On Monday, Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) released a statement regarding the impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“I voted to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton because of the credible testimony I heard

the many thousands of pages of evidence presented at trial,” Nichols stated. “The evidence included testimony from many of his top staff, including First Assistant AG Jeff Mateer, Deputy First Assistant AG Ryan Bangert, Deputy AG for General Counsel Ryan Vassar, Director of Law Enforcement Texas Ranger David Maxwell, Deputy AG for Criminal Justice Mark Penley, Deputy AG for Civil Litigation Darren McCarty and Deputy AG for Policy and Strategic Initiatives Blake Brickman. I believe these individuals showed tremendous courage in reporting what they saw as violations of the law.”

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Nichols said their testimony, combined with the totality of all other evidence presented by the House Board of Managers, proved to him beyond a reasonable doubt that the attorney general’s actions violated Texas law and his oath of office.

“The oath I swore, to make a fair judgment based on the evidence presented, left no room for

politics or doubt,” Nichols stated. I have voted, and always will, for what I believe is right.

Copies of the evidence the court considered, as well as a complete audio-video recording of the case

arguments are available online at www.senate.texas.gov/coi.”

Senator Nichols was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2006. He represents 18 counties, including most of East and Southeast Texas and Jefferson County.

On Saturday, Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine) said he would not make any comments or statements regarding Paxton’s lawsuit.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement Saturday afternoon regarding Paxton’s trail.

“I have been unusually quiet since the Texas House of Representatives sent the Senate articles of impeachment against the attorney general on very short notice in the final hours of the regular legislative session,” Patrick said. “The law requires the Senate to receive the articles and hold a trial, and once I realized I would be the chairman and judge, I thought it was my duty to remain silent on this matter. I have tried my very best to do that over the past three months and these two weeks. I have spent the better part of the last 90 days preparing for this process. I have issued over 240 subpoenas, reviewed countless motions, written multiple orders, read hundreds of pages of history, rules and documents, and worked on every detail of this process.”

Patrick thanked the Rules Committee for their “tireless work in writing rules that some say are the best rules ever written on impeachment.” We’ve all studied past impeachments from around the country to learn from the mistakes of past impeachments so we don’t make the same ones. errors. The Rules Committee should be proud of their work.”

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And he thanked the senators for their thorough, thoughtful and professional work.

“I think it’s important to set the record straight for the future so that the full picture is known of what happened and how we got here,” Patrick said. “In the House of Representatives, the vote to send articles of impeachment against the attorney general to the Senate took place very quickly, with 150 members having virtually no time to study the 20 articles. The chairman and his team rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide elected official in Texas in more than 100 years, without regard to precedent.

“In the past, the target of the investigation was notified and invited to attend with counsel and was given the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses under oath before testimony was given. At the end of previous investigations of the House, the evidence was laid out for weeks for members of the House of Representatives to evaluate before voting on the articles of impeachment.”

Patrick said the Texas Legislature should amend the Texas Constitution on impeachment during the next session because the way the Constitution is currently written has allowed for a flawed process this year.

“Any testimony given in an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives must be given under oath and the target must be able to be present with an attorney to cross-examine the witnesses,” Patrick said. truthful because there is no threat of perjury.

“The House should also give all members of the House at least two weeks to review all sworn evidence before voting on such a serious matter. If they had done these two things in May, this trial might never have happened. If the House sends articles of impeachment to the Senate, the official in question may not be placed on unpaid leave during the trial. The federal system does not allow that. President Clinton and President Trump did not have to step down from their duties during their impeachment trial. This is not a partisan issue. We owe it to future legislatures to make these changes so that no future official impeached by the House of Representatives, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, is subjected to the manner in which this impeachment process was conducted. ‘

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Patrick said millions of taxpayer dollars were wasted on this impeachment.

“I will call for a full audit of all taxpayer money spent by the House from the start of their investigation in March until today,” he stated. “We will also meet our costs imposed on us by the impeachment of the House of Representatives. One big difference is that the Senate has not paid for a huge team of outside lawyers and investigators. An impeachment should never again happen in the House the way it happened now. years.”

“Simply put, the burden of proof – beyond a reasonable doubt – has not been met,” Republican Senator Charles Schwertner said in a statement. “Impeachment is a powerful political tool that should be used wisely and thoughtfully and used rarely.”

Schwertner voted against impeaching Paxton on each charge.

State Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton, agreed with Schwertner that the burden of proof had not been met. Flores also voted against each article of impeachment.

“I stand unwavering in my vote after fully considering the evidence in the case,” Flores said.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, said a “broken and corrupt system” saved Paxton.

“People elected to office have taken an oath to protect all citizens under their care, not their ultra-wealthy, well-connected friends. Today, Republicans in Texas decided that the corruption and lies of people like Ken Paxton… are fine with them,” Gutierrez said.

Gov. Greg Abbott also responded to the acquittal, saying in a statement that “the jury has spoken.”

“Attorney General Paxton received due process as required by the Texas Constitution. Attorney General Paxton has done an excellent job representing Texas, and especially pushing back against the Biden administration,” said Abbott. “I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach.”

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