On Saturday, the Texas Senate acquitted state Attorney General Ken Paxton of all impeachment articles filed against him for corruption and unfitness for office.
Although two Republican Ssnators, Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock, joined all 12 Democrats to vote in favor of conviction on several charges, the votes to convict on each charge did not clear the 21-vote threshold.
The Texas Senate convened at 10:30 a.m. central time Saturday to vote and finished just before 1 p.m.
Paxton posted a lengthy statement to X, formerly Twitter, following the vote, writing, “Today, the truth prevailed.”
“The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors. I’ve said many times: Seek the truth! And that is what was accomplished.”
“I thank the 4.2 million Texans who voted for me last year. I will always be grateful for your support, and I will continue to honor your vote by defending the rule of law and our constitutional rights. I’m also grateful for the state senators who followed the law and refused to overturn an election. I also thank my legal team for exposing the absurdity of these false allegations.
“Most importantly, I want to thank my amazing wife Angela, who I love dearly. She is a brave woman of deep faith, unquestionable integrity, and the light of our entire family.
“The sham impeachment coordinated by the Biden Administration with liberal House Speaker Dade Phelan and his kangaroo court has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, disrupted the work of the Office of Attorney General and left a dark and permanent stain on the Texas House.
“The weaponization of the impeachment process to settle political differences is not only wrong, it is immoral and corrupt.
“Now that this shameful process is over, my work to defend our constitutional rights will resume. Thank you to everyone who has stood with us during this time.
“Finally, I can promise the Biden Administration the following: buckle up because your lawless policies will not go unchallenged. We will not allow you to shred the constitution and infringe on the rights of Texans. You will be held accountable.
“I will next address the nation and Texas on Tucker Carlson next week. Now it is back to work!”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated Paxton following the trial’s conclusion.
“The jury has spoken. Attorney General Ken Paxton received a fair trial as required by the Texas Constitution. I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach,” Abbott said.
Paxton was acquitted on all 16 impeachment counts, and four others were dismissed via a motion filed after that acquittal. Sens. Paul Bettencourt, Brian Birdwell, Donna Campbell, Brandon Creighton, Pete Flores, Bob Hall, Joan Huffman, Bryan Hughes, Phil King, Lois Kolkhorst, Mayes Middleton, Tan Parker, Charles Perry, Kevin Sparks, Drew Springer and John Whitmire voting to acquit consistently.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick spoke out against the impeachment upon acquittal, arguing that the House had no business bringing forth impeachment articles after just a few days deliberation, and had wasted money and time of taxpayers in the process.
The jury of 30 senators spent about eight hours deliberating behind closed doors since the Senate ended deliberations. A two-thirds majority was required to convict Paxton on any of 16 articles of impeachment that accuse Paxton of bribery, corruption and unfitness for office.
Paxton was facing accusations that he had abused his political power to help real estate developer Nate Paul, and Paxton’s opponents argued that the attorney general had accepted a bribe by hiring Paul.
“If we don’t keep public officials from abusing the powers of their office, then frankly no one can,” Republican state Rep. Andrew Murr, one of the impeachment managers in the Texas House, said during closing arguments.
Attorneys for the bipartisan group of lawmakers prosecuting the impeachment rested their case on Wednesday after a woman, who was expected to testify about an extramarital affair with Paxton, made an appearance at the trial but never took the stand.
The affair was central to the proceedings and accusations against Paul, who was under FBI investigation and employed the woman, Laura Olson. One of the articles of impeachment against Paxton alleged that Paul’s hiring of Olson amounted to a bribe.
Meanwhile, Paxton’s lawyers cast the impeachment effort as a ploy by establishment Republicans to remove a proven conservative from office, pointing out Paxton’s long record of challenging Democratic presidential administrations in high profile court cases that have won him acclaim from former President Donald Trump and conservative hardliners.
“I would suggest to you this is a political witch hunt,” Paxton attorney Tony Buzbee said. “I would suggest to you that this trial has displayed, for the country to see, a partisan fight within the Republican Party.”
Paxton was suspended from office pending the trial’s outcome, was not required to attend the proceedings and appeared only once in the Senate, during closing arguments, since testimony began last week.
His wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, sat across the room from him. She was required to be present for the whole trial but was prohibited from participating in debate or voting on the outcome of her husband’s trial.
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