The impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (right) will begin no later than August 28, lawmakers announced Monday, launching the first such trial in nearly half a century.
The Republican-led House in Texas voted on Saturday to impeach Paxton after a state ethics committee recommended he be removed from office following a lengthy investigation into an abuse of power. The move came after investigators presented a list of alleged wrongdoings including bribery, retaliation against staff members and misuse of position to help a political ally.
A committee of seven state senators will meet next month to adopt a list of rules for impeachment proceedings. A dozen State House lawmakers will argue to their colleagues that Paxton abused his office.
It is unclear whether Paxton’s wife, Senator Angela Paxton (right), will recuse herself from the proceedings.
“We will handle this process with the weight and respect it deserves and demands,” State Rep. Andrew Murr (R), chairman of the House inquiry, told reporters on Monday. He did not say whether Paxton’s wife would participate in the trial.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to reporters outside the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26, 2022.
Paxton, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, said castigated the effort as a political attack and denied any wrongdoing, vowing to vehemently defend himself during the impeachment trial. We don’t know who will represent him.
“The horrific spectacle at Texas House today confirmed that the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be right or just,” he said in a statement on Saturday. “It was a politically motivated sham from the start.”
Paxton has been suspended from official duties while the trial progresses. His deputy principal, Brent Webster, is currently running his office on an interim basis, although Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) will have to appoint a more formal temporary replacement.
It’s a monumental episode in Texas politics and a moment of reckoning for the state’s Republican majority. Only two other officials have been impeached and removed from office in the state’s history, and the last was nearly 50 years ago, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The investigation into Paxton’s behavior began in March after the attorney general reached a $3.3million settlement with former staffers who sued him, claiming they were fired in retaliation for accusing him of crimes. Paxton asked the Texas Legislature to fund the deal, but lawmakers balked at the request and said there wasn’t enough explanation for why the state should pay for the deal. Invoice.
Paxton has attacked Phelan, the Republican speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, in recent days, accusing him of being drunk during a session last week.