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BREAKING U.S COURT REPORT: Texas AG Ken Paxton Acquitted of Corruption Charges at Historic Impeachment Trial

Three men in suits and ties sit next to each other at a desk in a legislative building, two smiling and laughing
The impeachment trial of Ken Paxton (centre) was the first of a statewide office-holder in Texas since 1917.(AP: Sam Owens/The San Antonio Express-News)none

AceBreakingNews – The Texas Senate has acquitted Attorney-General Ken Paxton on all 16 articles of impeachment he had been facing, allowing the conservative US firebrand to keep his state office.


Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Sept.17: 2023: ABC News Report: TELEGRAM Ace Daily News Link

Three men in suits and ties sit next to each other at a desk in a legislative building, two smiling and laughing
The impeachment trial of Ken Paxton (centre) was the first of a statewide office-holder in Texas since 1917.(AP: Sam Owens/The San Antonio Express-News)none

Mr Paxton, a Republican and an ally of former US president Donald Trump, has been dogged by corruption allegations since taking office in 2014. He still faces a state trial on securities fraud and is under investigation by the FBI.

But he was vindicated on Saturday in the city of Austin by easily winning acquittal on the various allegations of corruption contained in the articles of impeachment, which the Texas House passed by a wide margin in May.

Mr Paxton repeatedly insisted that he was innocent and that the impeachment trial was a political witch-hunt.

“Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” he said in a statement.

Mr Paxton boosted his standing in right-wing circles when, in December 2020, he asked the US Supreme Court to throw out results from four states that had cast their votes for Joe Biden in the November election. The court tossed out the case.

In a statement, Mr Trump offered “congratulations to Attorney-General Ken Paxton on a great and historic Texas sized VICTORY”.

After closing the impeachment proceedings, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican who as president of the Senate presided over the trial, criticised the entire process as a rush job that lacked transparency.

“Millions of taxpayers dollars have been wasted on this impeachment,” he said. “Our founders expected better. It should have never happened this year, and hopefully it doesn’t again.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, also a Republican, said in a written statement that “the jury has spoken” and that Mr Paxton “has done an outstanding job representing Texas, especially pushing back against the Biden administration”.

Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who voted to convict Mr Paxton, said that “a broken and corrupt system allowed Ken Paxton to abuse the powers of his office” and that “Texas Republicans decided that the corruption and lies of people like Ken Paxton … are fine by them”.

A white man in a suit and tie holds his phone in one hand and walks through a legislative chamber near people at desks.
Democrat Roland Gutierrez claims Ken Paxton was allowed to abuse his powers due to “a broken and corrupt system”.(AP: Eric Gay)

Paxton was accused of protecting a donor and having an extramarital affair

Mr Paxton faced 16 articles of impeachment. Two-thirds of Texas’ 31 senators — or, 21 senators — had to vote to convict him on any single article. No single article of impeachment saw more than 14 senators vote to find him guilty.

Mr Paxton was accused by several former top aides of corruption and abuse of power, mostly in relation to official actions allegedly carried out to protect a wealthy political donor who was under a federal investigation, and to cover up an extramarital affair.

The trial exposed rifts in the Texas Republican Party between the social conservatives, who have held sway for the past decade and back Mr Paxton, and the traditional conservatives, who say his actions have brought shame on the party and the state. Mr Paxton was overwhelmingly impeached by the Republican-dominated Texas House in May.

A man in a suit and tie hugs and kisses a woman in a suit who is holding a handbag, inside a legislative building.
Mr Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, is a Republican senator and was barred from voting in the trial.(AP: Eric Gay)

The trial opened on September 5 and saw a string of former top aides testify at length about what they called his corrupt practices, including making legal manoeuvres and using the power of his office to protect Nate Paul, a wealthy political donor and real estate developer, as he faced federal investigations.

In return, Mr Paul allegedly helped facilitate an extramarital affair for Mr Paxton and paid for home renovations.

Tony Buzbee, the main defence lawyer for Mr Paxton, sought to paint the whistleblowers who testified as centrists with a political axe to grind.

The Texas Senate has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Mr Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, is a Republican senator, but was barred from voting in the trial.

The last impeachment trial of a statewide office-holder in Texas was in 1917.

Mr Paxton’s impeachment was triggered by his request that House lawmakers approve a $US3.3 million ($5.1 million) settlement he reached with former staff members who accused him of abuse of office and were subsequently fired. State lawmakers did not fund the settlement.

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