Top Texas lawyers hired to present impeachment case against Ken Paxton

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Two prominent Texas attorneys with a long list of celebrity clients will present the case of impeachment against Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and called for transparency Thursday once the trial begins this summer in the state Capitol.

The hiring of Dick DeGuerin and Rusty Hardin, announced by a state House committee that accused Paxton of bribery and abuse of power, underscores how aggressive a Republican-led investigation is to oust the best state attorney in the face of backlash from the GOP. hard right.

Over the decades in Texas, DeGuerin and Hardin have become almost as recognizable in courtrooms as the politicians and famous people they have represented. For DeGuerin, that includes former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay, accused of money laundering, and Branch Davidian leader David Koresh.

The two told reporters they were alarmed by the findings against Paxton and said they would take the case to the jury – in this case, all 31 Texas state senators – as they would in any trial. , which is expected to begin no later than August 28. .

“I promise you it’s ten times worse than what was made public,” Hardin said.

The Senate will set its own rules for an unprecedented trial. Paxton is only the third serving official in Texas history to be impeached.

Paxton has been investigated by the FBI for years on charges that he used his office to help a donor and was charged separately with securities fraud in 2015, though he has not yet been judged. His party had long taken a mum stance on the allegations — but that changed when 60 of 85 House Republicans, including Speaker Dade Phelan, voted for impeachment.

Six employees of the Texas attorney general’s office, including the solicitor general, took time off to help defend Paxton, who is temporarily suspended from duty pending the outcome of the trial.

Solicitor General Judd Stone and one of Paxton’s defense attorneys, Philip Hilder, declined to comment.

Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who chairs the Senate, said Wednesday he could not comment on the proceedings.

Among the questions is whether Paxton’s wife, Republican Senator Angela Paxton, will participate or recuse herself. She has made no public statement on the impeachment and declined to comment earlier this week.

“We know the importance of transparency in these proceedings because people have a right to know,” DeGuerin said.

Hardin, a former Houston prosecutor, was part of the special counsel surrounding former President Bill Clinton in the Whitewater investigation. His most recent clients include NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was accused of sexual misconduct while playing for the Houston Texans.

On Wednesday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott named the state’s former chief election officer, John Scott, as the state’s acting attorney general.

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Associated Press reporter Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.

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