Texas’ Republican-controlled state Senate voted to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton, after the MAGA-aligned Republican’s high-profile impeachment in May on accusations of bribery and corruption, keeping Paxton in office following a tense impeachment trial that pitted Texas Republicans against one another.
The Senate voted primarily along party lines to acquit Paxton on all 16 articles of impeachment against him, with the closest vote still falling seven votes shy of the 21 required to convict.
Among the impeachment articles, Paxton was acquitted on charges of improperly obtaining information for campaign donor and real estate investor Nate Paul, which had not been publicly disclosed, as well as for directing employees to not release public information about public safety records and for allegedly directing a state attorney to investigate a “baseless” complaint to “benefit” Paul.
The chamber also acquitted Paxton on two separate accusations of directing employees to write legal opinions that helped Paul avoid foreclosures of his properties, and directing employees to intervene in another lawsuit against Paul.
Paxton was also acquitted on a charge of violating the state’s whistleblower law by firing employees after they reported on his improper conduct, as well as for misusing public resources by directing employees to launch a “sham” investigation into complaints made by the employees he fired, and for concealing a $3.3 million payment in public funds to settle a lawsuit brought by employees he fired.
He was acquitted on charges he made employees submit false statements to mislead the public in response to allegations against his office.
The Senate also failed to convict Paxton on a charge of bribery after claims Paul repaired Paxton’s home and hired a woman with whom Paxton was allegedly having an extramarital affair in return for “favorable legal assistance” from Paxton.
A two-thirds majority (at least 21 of the state’s 30 senators) had been required on any of the 16 articles of impeachment Paxton faces for him to be removed from office—Paxton’s wife, Republican state Sen. Angela Paxton, was recused from the vote.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Paxton said “the truth prevailed,” adding: “The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors.” Paxton also said he would sit down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his first interview following his acquittal next week.
Paxton, who has maintained no wrongdoing after being impeached by the Republican-controlled House in May, pleaded not guilty last week to all 16 articles, including bribery, dereliction of duty, disregard of official duty and misuse of public resources, over allegations he hindered a federal investigation into Paul, and engaged in workplace retaliation against former staffers. The state Senate, which had also denied a motion last week to drop charges of bribery and corruption, will also vote on whether or not to bar Paxton from holding future office, a vote that also requires a two-thirds majority.
Trump, who defended Paxton as “one of the TOUGHEST & BEST” attorneys general in the country in a post on Truth Social this week, called his impeachment a “shameful” effort by the state’s “establishment RINOS” (Republicans in name only) to oust him.
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