Texas AG Paxton back on job after acquittal
After being cleared of charges related to impeachment, Texas Attorney-General Ken Paxton has returned to work and is getting back into the routine.
Promises will continue to drag the Biden administration in court. Former President Donald Trump has offered his support. Coming soon: a sit down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Paxton, who began his first day in office on Sunday after being acquitted in the Texas Senate of accusations of corruption and fraud, is quickly returning to the same approach that has made him one of America’s most resilient politicians despite criminal charges and scandals.
The fallout from the Texas Capitol likely is just beginning. It could spill over into the elections of 2024, when conservative allies who support the Trump-backed Attorney General say they’ll target Republican legislators that led the investigation.
After Republican Lt. Governor. Dan Patrick, the judge who presided over this trial, demanded new safeguards in an enraged speech, questioning the way the case got to this point.
The Republicans are on the other side. In May, Paxton was impeached by a landslide and suspended from his office. The members of the group were furious at the Saturday verdict and the criticisms made by the lieutenant-governor.
Dade Phelan, Republican House Speaker, said: “It is inescapable that the outcome of today’s trial was orchestrated from the beginning. This has cheated the people of Texas justice.”
Paxton, 60 years old, missed most of the trial. He was also not present in the Senate when he was acquitted of 16 articles of impeachment. He released a statement in which he called his impeachment the work of “a kangaroo tribunal” and advertised an interview with Carlson he planned to do this week.
“I’ve repeated it many times: Find the truth!” Paxton stated that this was the result.
The trial featured a mixture of serious testimony and some spectacle. Former advisers accused Paxton of abuse of his office by recounting how Texas’ top attorney allegedly pressured the former advisors to assist a political donor under FBI investigation. In the testimony, there were arguments about who paid for renovations to Paxton’s home, whether he used burner phones and if his extramarital affair was a strain on office.
Paxton denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyers argued that there was either no evidence or not enough to prove beyond a reasonable suspicion. They painted Paxton as a victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by Republican opponents and pointed to political conspiracies that involved George P. Bush. Bush is the nephew of George W. Bush who challenged Paxton unsuccessfully in the GOP primary last year.
Trump endorsed Paxton in this race, reaffirming his support during the final days of the trial. He also applauded Paxton’s verdict. The Ken Paxton Victory was sooo big. WOW!! “Trump posted on Truth Social.
Paxton, who is married to state senator Angela Paxton, was acquitted just as convincingly by Senate Republicans, more than three months after his impeachment had been overwhelmingly overturned in the Texas House where Republicans hold a strong majority.
Angela Paxton did not have the right to vote during the trial. She did, however, attend all of the two-week proceedings. This included a dramatic moment in which a woman testified publicly about having an affair with the husband of a state senator.
The woman never testified, but the relationship she had with Ken Paxton played a central role in a case that accused him of potentially going to criminal lengths to assist a local developer named Nate Paul who was being investigated by the FBI at the time.
Nathan Johnson, a Democratic State Senator from New York, described the nearly eight-hour deliberations between 30 senators among themselves as a difficult and sincere process.
He said, “And then it fell.”
Johnson said that it became apparent at some point that there wouldn’t be enough votes for conviction, and this may have caused some senators to reconsider their decision.
Johnson stated that “when enough people abandon their convictions, it exposes any Republican remaining to very strong attacks from the right.” We reached the wrong conclusion and it was the result political pressures.
Paxton’s problems are not over with the outcome. Paxton still faces trial for felony securities fraud, is under separate FBI investigation, and could lose his right to practice law in Texas due to his baseless efforts to overturn 2020 election.
In 2020, eight of Paxton’s deputies reported the real estate developer Paul to the FBI. This triggered a federal probe that continues. According to two sources with knowledge, federal prosecutors who are investigating Paxton gave testimony before a San Antonio grand jury in August.
Paul was charged in June with making false statements to the banks. He has pleaded innocent.
Dan Cogdell is one of Paxton’s lawyers. He believes that the securities fraud charges against the Attorney General should be dismissed.
He said, “If they do not dismiss them we will try them there and beat them just as we did here.”