Ken Paxton Fully Acquitted, Biggest Losers: Bush Family

“Today, the truth prevailed,” Texas Attorney General, Republican Ken Paxton said on Saturday. “I’ve said many times: See the truth! And that is what was accomplished.” Paxton also thanked his wife and his supporters, saying he would “continue to honor your vote by defending the rule of law and our constitutional rights.”

Texas AG @KenPaxtonTX has been FULLY ACQUITTED on all 16 impeachment charges He is now restored as Attorney General & will fight to stop Biden’s open border agenda The Bush cartel suffered a *major* defeat today We the People are victorious & Texas is officially MAGA country- DC Draino posted on Twitter.

The AP reported on Saturday, after a historic vote, that the creepy Bush Family had been run out of Texas and Ken Paxton had been acquitted.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was fully acquitted Saturday of corruption charges in a historic impeachment trial, a resounding verdict that reaffirms the power of the GOP’s hard right and puts an indicted incumbent who remains under FBI investigation back into office.

The outcome demonstrated Paxton’s lasting durability in America’s biggest red state after years of criminal charges and scandal. And more broadly, it delivered a signature victory for the Texas GOP’s ascendent conservative wing, following an impeachment that gave a rare window into divisions among Republicans nationally heading into 2024.

“Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” Paxton said in a statement. He only attended a few hours of the two-week trial and was not there for the verdict

The trial was a showcase of both sober testimony and occasional spectacle. In accusing Paxton of abusing his office, former advisers recounted how Texas’ top lawyer allegedly pressured them to help a political donor who was under FBI investigation. The testimony included arguments over who paid for home renovations, whether Paxton used burner phones and how his alleged extramarital affair became a strain on the office.

My statement on today’s Senate acquittal vote:

— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 16, 2023

Local Texas news covered more of Paxton’s statement with some of their details of the impeachment mess: 

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is expected to head back to work after being acquitted Saturday on all 16 articles of impeachment, shedding some of the corruption allegations that have dogged him for the last three years, even if only temporarily.

A group of Texas Senators, most of them Republicans, acted as a jury and deliberated for less than a day before separately voting on each article Saturday morning and clearing him to return to his office. Paxton’s wife, State Sen. Angela Paxton, was present throughout the trial though she was forbidden from voting on a decision.

Paxton, who was not seen sitting next to his attorneys in the Senate Chamber as the votes were counted Saturday, issued a statement on X Saturday afternoon and addressed the hearing.

“Today, the truth prevailed,” Paxton said. “I’ve said many times: See the truth! And that is what was accomplished.”

Paxton also thanked his wife and his supporters, saying he would, “continue to honor your vote by defending the rule of law and our constitutional rights.”

“I also thank my legal team for exposing the absurdity of these false allegations,” Paxton said. “The weaponization of the impeachment process to settle political differences is not only wrong, it is immoral and corrupt.”

In his statement, he said the impeachment was a sham coordinated by the Biden Administration and House Speaker Dade Phelan that ultimately cost Texas taxpayers millions of dollars and disrupted the work of his office.

Phelan responded with his own statement saying that after the House Board of Managers presented the Texas Senate with extensive evidence of Paxton’s corruption, deception and self-dealing, it was extremely unfortunate they chose not to remove him from office.

Shortly after the verdict, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott welcomed Paxton back to work without reservations.

“Attorney General Paxton has done an outstanding job representing Texas, especially pushing back against the Biden Administration,” Abbott said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach.”

Paxton, of course, still faces trial on felony securities fraud charges in Collin County, remains under a separate FBI investigation into corruption as a result of the whistleblower investigation, and is in jeopardy of losing his ability to practice law in Texas because of his baseless attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Still, his defense team celebrated the win on Saturday.

“This was a Herculean task to put together a defense when we really didn’t even know what we were defending,” defense attorney Tony Buzbee said Saturday afternoon. “This should have never happened. I want to thank the court for giving us a just trial on behalf of Attorney General Ken Paxton. We should not have had to prove our innocence, but that’s what we did.”

In a fiery closing Friday, Buzbee said the case was about nothing and was based on supposition. He said the House Board of Managers failed to bring any evidence and they should be ashamed for bringing the case, which he often referred to as “foolishness,” to trial. While unleashing attacks on a wide-ranging cast of figures both inside and outside the Texas Capitol, mocking a Texas Ranger who warned Paxton he was risking indictment and another accuser who cried on the witness stand, Buzbee urged the group of Texas Senators serving as a jury that the burden of proof was high.

Leaning into flaring divisions among Republicans, Buzbee portrayed the impeachment as a plot orchestrated by an old guard of GOP rivals. He singled out George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush who challenged Paxton in the 2022 Republican primary, punctuating a closing argument that impugned the integrity of FBI agents and decried Texas’ most famous political dynasty.

“This is a political trial,” Buzbee said. “A political witch hunt. Let’s call it what it is … There is no doubt that these folks did not prove a case … They didn’t prove anything other than they did not like Ken Paxton.”

After the trial, the House Board of Mangers gave a statement about the results of the acquittal

“Those that voted to acquit were wholeheartedly Republican,” said Ann Johnson (D-Houston). “The house took a stand on the evidence that was to be presented, our lawyers, the board of managers, presented overwhelming evidence that Ken Paxton is the most corrupt politician in the State of Texas at this time, and the republicans and the Texas Senate just returned him to the office of top cop.”

Paxton, who left on the trial’s first day after pleading not guilty, missed all testimony and returned to the Senate chamber Friday where he sat at the defense table minutes before the trial resumed. Had he been convicted of even one of the articles of impeachment he would have been removed from office.

“As the state’s top cop, misconduct was and is inexcusable,” said State. Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction), who presented closing arguments for the House. “He may claim to be one of us, but unlike the public servants here today, he has no regard for the principles of honor or integrity.”

The Republican-led Texas House, led by Murr, drafted articles of impeachment in May, accusing the Republican attorney general of a number of accusations related to his dealings with Austin real estate developer Nate Paul including alleged attempts to interfere in foreclosure lawsuits and improperly issuing legal opinions to benefit Paul, and firing, harassing and interfering with staff who reported what was going on. The bribery charges stem from Paul allegedly employing the woman with whom Paxton had an affair in exchange for legal help, and Paul allegedly paying for expensive renovations to one of Paxton’s homes.

The House committee said in May it was Paxton’s own request for $3.3 million in state funds to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that brought about the impeachment recommendation.

The whistleblowers are a group of former high-level staffers in Paxton’s office who notified the FBI that they believed their boss was breaking the law in helping Paul, who claimed that he was a victim of illegal behavior by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with improper warrants served in a search of his home and business and allegedly asked for help from the AG’s office.

Seven of the eight whistleblowers testified for the House in the trial with only Lacey Mase not taking the stand.

Paxton, who left the trial on the first day after pleading not guilty and didn’t return until closing arguments 10 days later, broadly denied any wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Paxton rested their case Thursday after calling just four witnesses. It was not until eight days into the trial that Paxton’s defense attorneys began calling their own witnesses. On Thursday they called Justin Gordon, the head of the Texas attorney general office’s open records division; Austin Kinghorn, an associate deputy attorney general for legal counsel; Henry De La Garza, HR director, chief employment counsel and ethics advisor for the OAG; and finally was Grant Dorfman, the deputy first assistant at the OAG.

Attorneys for the bipartisan group of lawmakers prosecuting Paxton’s impeachment rested their case Wednesday after a woman who was expected to testify about an extramarital affair with Paxton made a sudden appearance at the trial, but never took the stand.

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