Breaking: Paxton Acquitted on All Counts
Senators reject impeachment for attorney general
By Michael King,
1:53PM, Sat. Sep. 16, 2023
In what doesn’t appear to be a surprise, impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton has been acquitted on all 16 counts this Saturday morning by the Texas Senate.
The impeachment trial closed Friday afternoon, and senators deliberated Friday evening for several hours and apparently concluded their discussions Friday night, convening to vote this morning about 11am. The votes were not identical, with a few votes to acquit on some articles by Democratic senators. But only two Republicans – Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville and Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills – joined their Democratic colleagues in voting for conviction on 13 of the 16 articles. The articles of impeachment against Paxton range (very briefly) from “disregard of official duty” through “constitutional bribery” and “unfitness for office.”
It would have taken a two-thirds vote (21 of 31 senators) on any count for a conviction. Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, Paxton’s wife, did not deliberate with her colleagues or vote, but she attended the trial and was counted for the purpose of determining two-thirds.
When the impeachment trial began, votes were taken whether to “consider” each of the 16 articles. Six Republican senators voted No on all 16 articles, with a few others joining them on individual charges. That suggested Paxton’s defense attorneys needed only five more votes for acquittal.
The acquittal means the end of Paxton’s suspension from the Office of Attorney General (which was initiated by his impeachment by the House), and a return to the senior staff he appointed to replace the group of “whistleblowers” who reported him to the FBI in 2020 and who subsequently resigned or were fired.
Paxton remains under indictment on charges of felony securities fraud (pending for eight years, with a hearing scheduled soon in Houston), and is also the subject of an ongoing federal investigation based on the same allegations that led to his impeachment.