AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on all articles of impeachment related to allegations of corruption and abuse of office. The historic Senate vote closes the chapter of a three-month saga that has highlighted stark divides within the state’s Republican Party.
The Saturday vote, which followed a two-week trial in which senators acted as jurors, allows Paxton to return to work after being suspended in May. None of the votes on each impeachment article came close to the 21 votes needed to sustain it. It would have taken only one article to permanently remove Paxton from office.
A serious tone lingered over the room as senators each took turns casting their ballots, one-by-one, article-by-article. Rain and thunder from a late-summer storm could occasionally be heard outside the Texas Capitol. Paxton did not attend the session but issued a statement after, calling the House impeachment a “kangaroo court.”
”Today, the truth prevailed,” Paxton said. “The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors. I’ve said many times: Seek the truth! And that is what was accomplished.
“The weaponization of the impeachment process to settle (political) differences is not only wrong, it is immoral and corrupt. Now that this shameful process is over, my work to defend our constitutional rights will resume.”
After the acquittal, lawyers for Paxton called the impeachment a “joke.”
“It was a joke for us to have to go through this, that is Ken Paxton, his family, as well as the senators and everyone else,” Cogdell told reporters.
Attorney Tony Buzbee thanked Paxton’s legal team and said he’s proud of the case they presented. “This was a Herculean task, to put together a defense when we really didn’t know what we were defending,” he said.
But the acquittal by the Senate does not mark the end of Paxton’s legal troubles. He is still under a felony indictment for securities fraud from 2015, and federal prosecutors have reportedly taken grand jury testimony a former aide who testified during the impeachment trial.
It’s unclear how Saturday’s decision will impact the federal probe into Paxton, if at all.
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