Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Acquitted on All 16 Impeachment Charges

The GOP-controlled Texas Senate voted to acquit state attorney general Ken Paxton of corruption and bribery charges following the first impeachment trial in the Lone Star State in decades.


The GOP-controlled Texas Senate voted to acquit state attorney general Ken Paxton of corruption and bribery charges following the first impeachment trial in the Lone Star State in decades.

  • Paxton’s acquittal comes three months after he was impeached by the Texas House of Representatives in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote. Texas Republicans brought Paxton up on twenty charges including unfitness for office, dereliction of duty and bribery.
  • Republican state senators overwhelmingly voted to acquit their former colleague, who insisted he was innocent and decried the impeachment as a witch hunt. “Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors,” Paxton said in a statement.
  • Twenty-one votes were required to convict Paxton, and no impeachment article mustered more than 14 votes. Two GOP state senators, Kelly Hancock and Robert Nichols, joined all twelve Democrats to convict on several counts.
  • Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attacked GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan after the vote for having “rammed through” impeachment and for ignoring precedent. Phelan returned fire, blasting Patrick for “confessing his bias and placing his contempt for the people’s House on full display.”
  • Paxton remains the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation into the corruption scandal that led to his impeachment and has been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015. He is also undergoing a legal disciplinary proceeding over his lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
  • Paxton was first elected attorney general in 2014, and has been reelected twice despite a well-publicized extramarital affair, allegations of corruption from his own top staff, an indictment on securities fraud, a well-funded primary challenge and now his impeachment trial.
  • His wife, Angela Paxton, serves in the state Senate and attended the trial – including when her husband’s ex-mistress was called to testify – but was not permitted to vote in the trial.
  • Texas last held an impeachment trial in the 1960s, which resulted in the conviction of a state judge. The last state attorney general to be impeached and convicted was South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for hitting and killing a pedestrian with his car and for misleading investigators about the accident.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • “Mr. Paxton’s lawyers tried to create the impression that politicians like him, a supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, were under attack by moderate Republicans. They named well-known lobbyists, donors and consultants as well as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a conservative policy organization that has been powerful in Austin, as instigators.” (New York Times)
  • “The impeachment process began after Paxton requested $3.3 million in taxpayer money to settle a lawsuit with former top staffers who had been fired after reporting the attorney general’s conduct to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2020. Whistleblowers accused Paxton of using his authority to benefit political friend Nate Paul, a real estate investor who had donated tens of thousands of dollars to Paxton’s campaign. In the settlement, Paxton apologized but did not admit fault or accept liability.” (CNN)
  • “Support from the GOP had begun to fray as Paxton’s position grew increasingly precarious. [Sen. John] Cornyn (R-Tex.), a former Texas attorney general, called the allegations “deeply disturbing,” and Rep. Chip Roy, who worked for Paxton, called for his resignation. Former Rep. Louie Gohmert wrote that pursuing Paxton is not an example of “corrupt prosecution;” and Konni Burton, a former Texas state senator who had the most conservative voting record, said she believed Paxton “abused the office.” (Politico)



  • “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated Paxton after the trial concluded. ‘The jury has spoken. Attorney General Ken Paxton received a fair trial as required by the Texas Constitution. I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach,’ Abbott said.” (Fox News)
  • Tony Buzbee, Paxton’s lead attorney, maintained during his closing arguments that house managers had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the charges. Buzbee said that the whistleblowers and former top deputies who filed a lawsuit against the attorney general had no evidence to support their claims that he had illegally used his position to help Paul. ‘He was come after by a group of misinformed ill-advised people with no evidence,’ Buzbee said. ‘This is a political witch hunt.’“(Wall Street Journal)
  • “Paxton paramour Laura Olson — whose identity was revealed by The Post in May — was supposed to testify during the trial, but despite being called to the stand was mysteriously allowed to skip out of giving evidence. Olson, a former political aid for state Sen. Donna Campbell, presented herself at the state capitol building Wednesday, however, when prosecutors tried to call her to the witness stand she was deemed ‘unavailable to testify.’” (New York Post)


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© Dominic Moore, 2023