The Texas Senate has acquitted the state’s Republican attorney general of bribery and corruption charges in a historic impeachment trial.
Saturday’s outcome allows for the reinstatement of Ken Paxton more than three months after he was suspended from office when fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to impeach him over allegations of abuse of power.
Paxton, an ally of former US President Donald Trump, called the Senate verdict a triumph for the truth.
“Today the truth triumphed. The truth cannot be buried by mud-slinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” he said in a statement.
Trump also welcomed the outcome and congratulated Paxton “on a major and historic victory the size of Texas.”
Paxton, who has risen to national prominence as a thorn in the side of Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration, including filing dozens of lawsuits to block the implementation of national policies, faced 16 articles of impeachment.
During the trial, which began on September 5, a series of former top aides testified at length about what they called Paxton’s corrupt practices, including using his office’s power to protect Nate Paul, a wealthy political donor and real estate developer . facing federal investigations.
In return, Paul allegedly helped facilitate an extramarital affair for Paxton and paid for the renovation of his home.
Two-thirds of Texas’ 31 senators – or 21 senators – had to vote to convict him on a single article. But in no single article of impeachment did more than fourteen senators vote to find Paxton guilty.
The seditious politician’s wife, Angela Paxton, is also a senator, but was denied voting rights in the proceedings.
The trial exposed divisions within the Republican Party of Texas, between social conservatives, who have held sway and supported Paxton for the past decade, and traditional conservatives, who say his actions have brought shame on the party and the stands.
In May, the Texas House voted 121-23 to impeach Paxton on twenty articles, making him the third incumbent politician to be impeached in the state’s 178-year history.
The lawsuit was initiated following Paxton’s request earlier this year for House lawmakers to approve a $3.3 million settlement he reached with former staffers who had hired him in 2020 accused of abuse of office and subsequently dismissed.
State lawmakers did not fund the settlement.
After the conclusion of impeachment proceedings on Saturday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who presided over the trial as Senate president, criticized the entire process as a rush job that lacked transparency.
“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on this impeachment,” Patrick said. “It should never have happened this year, and hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Paxton’s critics condemned the outcome.
Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who voted to convict 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 … be fine. by them.”
Shortly after the verdict, Republican Governor Greg Abbott welcomed Paxton back to work without reservation.
“Attorney General Paxton has done an excellent job representing Texas, especially in 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.”
However, the verdict does not end Paxton’s problems.
He continues to face trial on securities fraud charges, remains under separate investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and is in danger of losing his ability to practice law in Texas over his baseless efforts to support Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. election.