Paxton trial updates: Suspended AG absent as second day of impeachment proceedings begin

3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago Wednesday, September 06 2023 Sep 6, 2023 September 06, 2023 11:02 AM September 06, 2023 in News
Source: texastribune.org
By: By Texas Tribune Staff, The Texas Tribune
Attorney Tony Buzbee, suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton and attorney Dan Cogdell on the Senate floor on Tuesday. The attorneys are part of the team defending Paxton in his Senate impeachment trial. Credit: Juan Figueroa/Pool via The Dallas Morning News

"Paxton trial updates: Suspended AG absent as second day of impeachment proceedings begin" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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The historic impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton is underway in the Texas Senate. He faces 16 articles of impeachment that accuse him of bribery, dereliction of duty and disregard of official duty. Impeachment prosecutors say Paxton displayed a pattern of “deceit” as he was “turning the keys” of the attorney general’s office over to real estate investor Nate Paul, who was also a political donor.

The trial is expected to hinge on Paxton’s relationship with Paul — and could prominently feature details of Paxton’s alleged extramarital affair. The proceedings involve a massive cast of elected officials, high-profile lawyers, whistleblowers from within Paxton’s office and the attorney general’s former personal assistant.

Paxton's attorneys argue that the impeachment allegations are baseless or fall under the legitimate duties of the attorney general’s office. They portray the impeachment as a political witch hunt carried out by “Republicans in name only” and have noted that Texas voters have twice reelected Paxton amid several legal battles and scandals.

Watch Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial live

Proceedings in suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial have begun Wednesday. You can watch them here.

Prosecutors expected to continue calling witnesses Wednesday

The first day of Ken Paxton's impeachment trial included a series of highly anticipated votes, including multiple bids to dismiss every article of impeachment. The motions were soundly defeated. But Paxton's attorneys succeeded in another key early decision when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, acting in his role as trial judge, ruled that the suspended attorney general could not be forced to testify during impeachment proceedings.

In opening statements, House impeachment managers accused Paxton of allowing a “slow creep of corruption” to taint his office. His lawyers fired back and disparaged the impeachment case against him as a dangerous exercise based on “ignorance, innuendo and outright lies.”

Prosecutors on Wednesday are expected to continue calling witnesses who they hope will bolster their argument that Paxton should be removed from office.

Robert Downen and Kate McGee

Ken Paxton doesn’t appear for start of day two

As the Senate gaveled in for a second day of impeachment proceedings, the man at the center of the trial, Ken Paxton, was again absent.

The suspended attorney general was present Tuesday while his lawyer, Tony Buzbee, pleaded not guilty on his behalf. But Paxton did not return after the lunch break as lawyers for the House impeachment managers called their first witness.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is the presiding officer over the impeachment trial, agreed with Paxton’s attorney’s Tuesday after they argued the rules did not stipulate Paxton must be present beyond entering a plea.

Kate McGee

?Former assistant attorney general returns to the stand

Impeachment prosecutors Wednesday morning are continuing to question Jeff Mateer, the former first assistant attorney general and one of the Ken Paxton whistleblowers.

On Tuesday, Mateer testified that he felt discomfort as he watched Paxton make unusual moves on behalf of real estate investor and political donor Nate Paul.

Mateer said he was confused when he learned that Paxton planned to argue a motion in a Travis County District Court case involving Paul and a charity. Mateer said he scheduled a meeting with Paxton, where he discouraged Paxton from proceeding further with the case.

But the next day, Mateer said he was surprised to learn Paxton was still trying to intervene himself.

An article of impeachment alleges that Paxton directed the attorney general’s office to intervene in the case solely to help Paul gain a better settlement with the charity, the Mitte Foundation. Paul had previously defaulted on a $10.5 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit with the charity.

Patrick Svitek and Zach Despart

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/09/06/ken-paxton-impeachment-trial-live-updates/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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