A timeline of events that led to the acquittal of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton during his impeachment trial in the state Senate. The trial started on September 5 and ended on September 16. Paxton was suspended from office in May after an overwhelming impeachment vote by the GOP-controlled Texas House of Representatives. However, he has now been acquitted and can resume his duties as attorney general.
2015: Paxton becomes attorney general after serving in the Texas Legislature for over a decade. He is indicted on felony securities charges related to a tech startup, accused of defrauding investors. He pleads not guilty and awaits trial. Paxton sets up a legal defense fund and receives donations, including $100,000 from an executive whose company was under investigation by his office. He also hires the son of a donor who later gets fired for showing child pornography in a meeting.
2020: Paxton’s top aides express concerns to the FBI about his alleged misuse of office powers to help a wealthy donor, Nate Paul, with his real estate empire. The FBI begins investigating, and Paxton denies any wrongdoing. It is later revealed that Paxton had an affair with a woman who worked for Paul. The aides who reported Paxton to the FBI are fired or quit, and some sue under Texas’ whistleblower law.
February 2023: Paxton agrees to settle the whistleblower lawsuit for $3.3 million in taxpayer money, pending legislative approval. The Justice Department in Washington takes over the corruption investigation from Texas prosecutors.
May 23, 2023: A Republican-led committee reveals a corruption investigation into Paxton that had been ongoing for months.
May 24, 2023: The committee accuses Paxton of multiple crimes in office, including felonies related to his dealings with Nate Paul. The allegations involve interference in foreclosure lawsuits, issuing legal opinions to benefit Paul, and firing and harassing staff who reported misconduct. Paxton denies the accusations.
May 25, 2023: The committee unanimously recommends Paxton’s impeachment on 20 articles, citing bribery, unfitness for office, and abuse of public trust.
May 26, 2023: The committee reveals that Paxton’s request for state funds to settle the whistleblower lawsuit triggered the impeachment recommendation. The $3.3 million payout requires approval from the House. Paxton calls on his supporters to protest the impeachment proceedings, describing them as “political theater” and an attempt to undermine the voters’ choice.
These are the key events that unfolded during the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.