The Texas Senate has acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton of the initial seven impeachment articles filed against him. Despite some bipartisan support for impeachment, none of the charges received the necessary 21 votes for conviction.
Republican Senators Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock joined all 12 Democrats in favor of convicting on several charges. The Texas Senate convened at 10:30 a.m. central time for the vote, with nine more articles of impeachment remaining for consideration.
The jury, consisting of 30 senators, primarily Republicans, spent approximately eight hours in closed-door deliberations since concluding public discussions. A two-thirds majority is required for conviction on any of the 16 articles of impeachment, accusing Paxton of bribery, corruption, and unfitness for office.
The voting process could be lengthy and public, with each article receiving a separate vote. The Senate holds a 19-12 Republican majority, so all Democrats voting to convict would require the support of nine Republicans.
Paxton faces allegations of misusing his political authority to assist real estate developer Nate Paul. Critics claim Paxton accepted a bribe by hiring Paul.
Republican State Rep. Andrew Murr, one of the impeachment managers in the Texas House, emphasized the importance of preventing public officials from abusing their office’s powers during closing arguments.
The impeachment prosecutors, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, concluded their case after a woman expected to testify about an extramarital affair with Paxton made a sudden appearance at the trial but did not take the stand. The affair and accusations involving Paul and the woman, Laura Olson, play a central role in the proceedings.
Paxton’s legal team has portrayed the impeachment as an attempt by establishment Republicans to remove a proven conservative from office. They highlight Paxton’s track record of challenging Democratic administrations in high-profile court cases, earning him praise from former President Donald Trump and conservative supporters.
Paxton also faces previous charges of allegedly making false statements to banks. He was suspended from office pending the trial’s outcome and only appeared in the Senate once, during closing arguments, since testimony began last week. His wife, State Sen. Angela Paxton, was required to be present throughout the trial but could not participate in debate or vote on the trial’s outcome.