The GOP-controlled Texas Senate acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton on all articles of impeachment on Saturday afternoon. The suspended attorney general can return to office.
The jury of 30 senators began deliberating on Friday, spending more than nine hours behind closed doors.
A two-thirds majority of the 30-senator jury – 21 senators – was required to convict Paxton.
Only two of 19 Republican senators voted in favor of convicting on any article – Bob Nichols of Jacksonville and Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills.
In late May, the Texas House of Representatives voted to adopt articles of impeachment against the Republican attorney general.
The articles of impeachment levied against Paxton accused the Texas attorney general of constitutional bribery, disregard of official duty, abuse of office, conspiracy, and misapplication of public resources.
The Texas Tribune noted, “The dramatic votes capped a two-week trial where a parade of witnesses, including former senior officials under Paxton, testified that the attorney general had repeatedly abused his office by helping his friend, struggling Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, investigate and harass his enemies, delay foreclosure sales of his properties and obtain confidential records on the police investigating him. In return, House impeachment managers said Paul paid to renovate Paxton’s Austin home and helped him carry out and cover up an extramarital affair with a former Senate aide.”
During closing arguments, Paxton’s lawyer Tony Buzbee said, “This is a political witch hunt. I would suggest to you that this trial has displayed for the country to see, a partisan fight within the Republican party … The Bush era in Texas ends today. We thought it had ended in the primary when Ken Paxton beat George P. Bush.”
Paxton had pleaded not guilty to all of the impeachment articles on the first day of the trial.
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