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Live updates: AG Ken Paxton’s defense strategy a key focus on Day 8 of impeachment trial

What we know about the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Texas Sen. Pete
Texas Sen. Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton, leads the Senate chamber in prayer at the beginning of day 7 of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. Paxton pleaded not guilty last week to numerous articles of impeachment.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

By Aarón TorresRobert T. GarrettPhilip JankowskiGromer Jeffers Jr. and Lauren McGaughy

AUSTIN — Follow here for live updates from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial.

Paxton, a Republican who has faced legal troubles throughout his three terms as the state’s top law enforcement officer, was impeached by the GOP-controlled House in May accused of sweeping abuses, including bribery, abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Sept. 14 (Day eight)

5 a.m.: Paxton’s defense strategy likely a focus Thursday

With the House managers having rested their case against Paxton, the attorney general’s defense team will have the chance to call their own witnesses and present their own evidence in the trial. The first witness was scheduled to be Michael Gerhardt, an impeachment expert and law professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It’s likely that testimony will conclude by the end of the day.

Sept. 13 (Day seven)

6:37 p.m.: Senate adjourns for the day

The Senate adjourned abruptly Wednesday following almost 90 minutes of what-is-going-on delays and motions filed in court. The eighth day of the trial will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday when Paxton’s team will have the opportunity to present evidence.


6:25 p.m.: Paxton’s attorneys withdraw motions, call first witness

In dramatic reversal, Paxton’s team withdrew their motions that could have, in essence, allowed senators to vote on whether they should dismiss the case against the attorney general.

Paxton’s attorneys filed motions for a “directed verdict” after the House board of managers mistakenly rested their case. But after a break for more than 30 minutes, Patrick announced that both motions by Paxton’s attorneys had been withdrawn.

It’s now the Paxton team’s opportunity to present evidence.

5:45 p.m.: Ken Paxton to discuss impeachment trial with Tucker Carlson

Paxton announced that he will do an interview with right-wing media personality Tucker Carlson next week to discuss his impeachment trial.

“It should be interesting!!” Paxton wrote on the social media platform X.


Paxton has not spoken about the trial and has also not appeared in person since the first day when he was ordered to show up. He left after pleading not guilty to the articles of impeachment.

5:35 p.m.: Ken Paxton’s defense files motions for “directed verdict”

Paxton’s defense team filed a motion with the Senate asking for a “directed verdict” from the chamber. It in essence asks for the senators to vote on whether the House managers presented a strong enough case against the attorney general.

The directed verdict means Senators will vote on a simple majority on whether they lacked sufficient evidence to consider the impeachment articles further.

5:30 p.m.: House managers inadvertently rest case against Paxton

Rusty Hardin, one of the attorneys for the House impeachment managers, abruptly rested the case against Paxton, then tried to take it back, a request that was denied by Patrick.

It appears to be a blunder, but it’s unclear what impact it will have on their case. It’s also unclear how much time House managers had left to present evidence when they rested. Senate rules gave each side 24 hours to present evidence.


“I messed up and I shouldn’t have rested,” Hardin said.

5 p.m.: Paxton’s alleged ex-lover not available to testify, Lt. Gov. Patrick says

In an stunning reversal, the woman who allegedly had an extramarital affair with Paxton will not testify Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said.

“She is present but is deemed unavailable to testify,” Patrick said, adding both sides agreed to the decision.

House impeachment managers called the woman, Laura Olson, to the stand in the morning. However, she was forced to wait until the afternoon in order to be in compliance with Senate rules that require 24 hours notice before a witness can testify.

Olson’s testimony could have been among the more dramatic of the trial as House impeachment managers allege Paul hired Olson as a bribe to Paxton. Paul denied that in a deposition in 2020.


Paxton denies any wrongdoing.

3:20 p.m.: Paxton’s alleged ex-lover expected to testify following small break

Laura Olson, the woman who allegedly had a years-long affair with Paxton, could testify at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Olson was identified as the woman in filings by Paxton’s defense team before the trial started. House managers attempted to have her testify Wednesday morning but had to wait in order to be in accordance with the Senate rules adopted for the trial.

3 p.m.: Seventh whistleblower testifies in impeachment trial

James Blake Brickman, the former deputy attorney general for policy and strategic initiatives, said he was very concerned Paxton was “breaking the law” in his dealings with Paul.

Brickman is the seventh of the eight former employees who reported their boss to the FBI in 2020. Brickman later sued the agency alleging wrongful termination.

“I witnessed Attorney General Ken Paxton do brazen things on behalf of Nate Paul,” Brickman testified.

2:30 p.m.: Paxton allegedly paid for home remodel after aides went to FBI, house managers allege

Paxton allegedly paid for the remodeling of his Austin home the day after his aides reported him to the FBI, House impeachment managers said Wednesday in court. An attorney for the managers showed Andrew Wicker, Paxton’s former executive aide, an invoice with metadata that she said showed the document was created on Oct. 1, 2020.

Paxton’s top deputes reported their boss to the FBI on Sept. 30, 2020.

House impeachment managers in filings before the trial included a document that showed Paxton’s blind trust paid for the amount charged for his home renovation and sent the money Cupertino Builders, a construction company that was tied to Paul as state and courts records showed the manager of the entity was a friend of Paul’s.

11:45 a.m.: Ex-aide says he’s not accusing Paxton of bribery

Wicker said he is not accusing Paxton of wrongdoing or bribery, he testified under cross examination from Paxton’s attorney.

“I’m not accusing anybody of anything, no,” Wicker said.

House managers have accused Paul of bribing Paxton in multiple impeachment articles. Wicker, however, testified he never personally saw Paxton and Paul enter into an agreement.

11:35 a.m.: House impeachment managers file new motion on banning Paxton

The House impeachment managers filed a motion Wednesday morning that, if adopted, would ensure Paxton would be automatically banned from ever holding public office in Texas if he is convicted on one of the articles of impeachment.

The rules adopted by the Senate in June said disqualifying Paxton from future office would be a separate vote should he be convicted by two-thirds of the chamber.

The Senate will vote on the motion Thursday and it requires a two-thirds majority to be adopted.

10:40 a.m.: Paxton appeared to have ‘inappropriate relationship’ with Nate Paul, witness says

Paxton appeared to have an “inappropriate relationship” with Paul, the real estate investor who House impeachment managers allege bribed the attorney general, Andrew Wicker testified.

Wicker confronted Paxton about the attorney general’s relationship with Paul. The personal aide “got the impression that Nate Paul was involved” in paying for the renovations to one of Paxton’s homes in Austin, Wicker testified.

Paxton denied he had an inappropriate relationship with Paul.

10:15 a.m.: Attorney general’s office did not want aide to talk to FBI, witness says

After the FBI reached out to Wicker so he would speak with them, the attorney general’s office asked him not to speak with them, the former personal aide testified.

The agency offered Wicker an attorney, he testified, but he chose to retain his own attorney who did not work for the attorney general’s office.

“I chose to retain my own counsel that would look out for my own interests,” Wicker testified.

9:40 a.m.: Ex-personal aide of Ken Paxton called as 13th witness

Andrew Wicker, the former executive travel aide for Paxton, was called to testify in the impeachment trial. Wicker worked as Paxton’s “body man” in 2020, during the time when the attorney general’s top staff reported Paxton to the FBI.

Wicker accompanied the attorney general to one of his Austin homes and indicated that Paul was in charge of a floor-to-ceiling remodel of the home, according to House impeachment managers. Wicker reported that information to Paxton’s high-ranking staff.

9 a.m.: Woman who allegedly had affair with Paxton called to testify, but delayed

The woman who allegedly had an extramarital affair with Texas attorney general Ken Paxton was called to testify Wednesday morning. But her testimony will not take place until the afternoon.

Witnesses must have a 24-hour gap from when they were called to testify to when they take the stand, Patrick said. The witness, Laura Olson, did not receive notice until Tuesday afternoon. She will not be eligible to give testimony until 3:53 p.m. Wednesday.

Paxton’s attorneys have identified Olson by name in filings before the trial began. House impeachment managers have accused Nate Paul, the real estate investor connected to Paxton, of hiring Olson as a bribe to Paxton.

The attorney general has never admitted or denied he had an extramarital affair.

5 a.m.: House managers, Paxton’s defense team watching clock closely

On Tuesday, attorneys for the House impeachment managers and for Paxton started paying more attention to how much time they have left to present evidence. On multiple occasions, attorneys on both sides asked witnesses not to speak too long when answering questions as it eats away at the time they have left.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not provide an update Tuesday after the day’s proceedings ended on how much time each side has left. But entering Tuesday, the House managers had a little over nine ours left to present evidence. Paxton’s team had over 12 hours.

Sept. 12, (Day six)

6:15 p.m.: Aide talked Paxton out of appearing in court to argue a motion

Darren McCarty personally talked the attorney general out of appearing in Travis County District Court to argue a motion in a case between a charity and Paul. Paxton said he would show up after McCarty declined to do so.

“It was a terrible thing for him to do,” McCarty testified. “He was the attorney general of Texas. He never appeared in court. Not once.”

The first impeachment article accuses Paxton of disregarding his official duty by failing to protect the charity involved in a lawsuit with Paul.

5:30 p.m.: Ex-Paxton aide Darren McCarty is 12th witness

McCarty is the fifth of the eight former agency employees that reported Paxton to the FBI to testify in the trial. McCarty was the deputy attorney general for policy and strategic initiatives from February-October 2020.

He was not one of the four former employees who sued the office accusing the agency of wrongful termination.

5 p.m.: Nate Paul benefited from AG opinion on foreclosure, credit union CEO testifies

The attorney general’s opinion issued in 2020 ruling that outdoor foreclosure sales should not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic benefited Nate Paul, Amplify Credit Union executive Kendall Garrison testified.

The opinion is central to the second impeachment article that accuses Paxton of having his staff issue an opinion that would have been beneficial to Paul.

In prior testimony, top deputies for Paxton who later reported him to the FBI said Paxton was uncharacteristically involved in the process of writing the legal opinion. Paxton’s defense team has tried to argue that the legal opinion was similar to an executive order that former President Donald Trump issued.

4:30 p.m.: President of credit union that gave loans to Paul testifies

Garrison, CEO and President of Amplify Credit Union, is the 11th witness called to testify. Paul obtained three loans from Amplify and those loans were delinquent, Garrison testified.

Paul was federally indicted in June and is accused of eight felony counts of making false statements to financial institutions.

4:10 p.m.: Ex-U.S. Attorney considered to investigate Paul’s accusations for AG is 10th witness

Joe Brown, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, is the 10th witness for the House impeachment managers. Brown served as U.S. Attorney from February 2018-March 2020.

He was allegedly considered by the attorney general’s office as an outside attorney that would investigate Paul’s accusations of mistreatment by law enforcement, according to documents filed by the managers before the trial.

2:20 p.m.: Paxton told outside attorney to ignore cease-and-desist letters, witness says

After Cammack received two cease-and-desist letters from top deputies to stop doing work on behalf of the attorney general’s office, Paxton told him to continue the investigation on behalf of Paul, Cammack testified.

Cammack went to Paul’s house for a meeting, he testified, and Paxton was present. The attorney general was out on the balcony for much of the meeting. As Cammack left the meeting, Paxton told him that Mark Penley, one of the deputies who sent him a cease-and-desist letter, had no authorities to tell Cammack to stop working.

2 p.m.: Outside attorney says he would not have issued subpoenas in 2020

Attorney Brandon Cammack said he would not have issued the grand jury subpoenas he gave in 2020 if he had known they were going to opponents of Paul in a civil lawsuit.

The outside attorney, who said he was hired by Paxton and reported directly to the attorney general, received a list of names from Paul and his attorney Michael Wynne of the people to be subpoenaed.

11:20 a.m.: Paxton ‘endorsed’ grand jury subpoenas outside attorney issued

Paxton “endorsed” the idea of attorney Brandon Cammack issuing grand jury subpoenas, which would be a “discreet way” at trying to get information, Cammack testified.

Cammack was attempting to get information on individuals and entities that were investigating Paul, who believed he was being mistreated by law enforcement officials. Cammack brought up the idea of serving grand jury subpoenas because the grand juries are “private and secret proceedings.”

“We’d be able to get information that way without raising any kind of alarms or causing some type of panic about the situation,” Cammack testified.

Paxton said it was a smart idea, he added.

11 a.m.: Outside attorney testifies he only reported to Ken Paxton

Attorney Brandon Cammack reported only to Ken Paxton when he was brought on to investigate Nate Paul’s accusations that law enforcement had mistreated him, the Houston-based attorney testified.

Cammack thought he was working for the attorney general’s office, he testified. He did not have any contact with the Travis County District Attorney’s office.

“The only person I reported to was Mr. Paxton, at his direction,” Cammack testified.

10:45 a.m.: Outside attorney was ‘convinced’ by some of Paul’s complaints

Cammack first met Nate Paul and his attorney in September 2020 to hear his complaints of mistreatment by the FBI and other law enforcement, he thought Paul’s accusations were “convincing,” Cammack testified Tuesday.

“I was convinced by what I was shown,” Cammack said.

Paul, Cammack testified, had accused law enforcement of altering a search warrant that was executed on him in 2019. Paxton’s deputies did not believe Paul’s accusations and also thought they were “crazy,” they have testified during the trial.

Cammack, however, initially thought if the search warrant was altered, as Paul alleged, that it would be “a big deal.”

Paul’s allegations against law enforcement have never been substantiated and he was federally indicted in June and is accused of financial crimes.

10:15 a.m.: Proceedings begin an hour late, Brandon Cammack is ninth witness

There were “issues” with the House managers and Paxton’s defense team, Patrick said, and it was the reason for an hour-long delay.

The House impeachment managers have called Brandon Cammack, the outside attorney who Paxton is accused of hiring to investigate Paul’s complaints of mistreatment by law enforcement. Paxton’s top deputies opposed bringing Cammack on to look into Paul’s accusations. His hiring was one of the reasons the deputies reported the attorney general to the FBI in September 2020.

9:45 a.m.: Proceedings delayed to begin sixth day

The sixth day of the trial did not start on time. Patrick said Monday evening after adjourning that the Senate would begin at 9 a.m. But after 45 minutes, Patrick was not at the dais and the chamber had not gaveled in.

5 a.m.: Time running out to present evidence

Tuesday could be one of the final days witnesses testify in Paxton’s impeachment trial as the 24 hours each side was allotted is running out.

The House impeachment managers have a little over nine hours left to present evidence. Paxton’s attorneys have more

than 12 hours, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday evening. No time extensions will be granted.

Sept. 11 (Day Five)

6:20 p.m.: Ex-Travis County DA did not appoint outside investigator, she testifies

Margaret Moore, the Travis County District Attorney, denied that she appointed an outside attorney to investigate Nate Paul’s allegations of mistreatment by law enforcement.

Paxton is accused of hiring the attorney, Brandon Cammack, to look into Paul’s accusations. Paxton’s top aides opposed the attorney general’s decision to hire the attorney and his hiring was among the reasons they reported him to the FBI in 2020.

Paxton’s team has said the Travis County District Attorney’s office was involved. House managers played audio in court Monday that was of an individual at the attorney general’s office saying Moore had appointed Cammack as a special prosecutor to the agency.

Moore rejected it as “astonishingly untruthful,” she testified.

“I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup today,” Moore said.

5:25 p.m.: Ex-Travis County prosecutor believed Paxton committed ‘possible’ crimes

Paxton “potentially” committed bribery and other “possible” crimes, a former assistant district attorney in Travis County testified Monday.

Gregg Cox, the former local prosecutor, conducted a “preliminary investigation” into Paxton and his relationship with real estate investor Paul in October 2020, he testified. He also identified other possible crimes by other individuals but did not reveal their identities in court.

Paxton was never charged by the Travis County District Attorney’s office. Cox had multiple discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s office before launching a full investigation because he knew Paul was the subject of a federal investigation, he said. He wanted to know if his investigation would “interfere” with the federal one.

At some point, Cox testified, he “stood down” and stopped an investigation into Paxton following a phone call with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Cox did not reveal the date of that phone call.

5 p.m.: Ex-Travis County prosecutor is seventh witness

The seventh witness House impeachment managers called to testify is Gregg Cox, a former Travis County assistant district attorney. Cox worked in that office for over 30 years, according to his LinkedIn page.

He worked for the office during the time when the allegations against Paxton first surfaced.

One of the impeachment articles accuses Paxton of misusing his office by hiring an outside attorney to investigate Paul’s allegations that he was being mistreated by law enforcement.

Paxton’s attorneys, however, argue that the Travis County District Attorney’s office asked the state’s attorney general’s office to hire an outside lawyer, which ended up being Brandon Cammack.

4:10 p.m.: Paxton’s ex-chief of staff testified to grand jury in 2021

Cary was subpoenaed and testified to a federal grand jury in 2021, she said Monday.

It’s unclear, however, which grand jury she spoke to. She did not provide specifics. Paul, the real estate investor at the core of the impeachment trial, was federally indicted in June.

A federal grand jury in San Antonio is investigating Paxton’s ties to Paul, the Austin American-Statesman reported last month.

3:30 p.m.: Paxton continued affair months after agreeing to end it, witness says

After informing his staff in 2018 that he would end an alleged affair, Paxton told his former chief of staff in 2019 that he was continuing the extramarital relationship, Cary testified.

Paxton told Katherine “Missy” Cary, his chief of staff at the time, that he “still loved” the woman during the meeting in 2019, she testified.

Cary again warned the attorney general the affair could bring about multiple legal risks, Cary testified. The alleged affair was negatively affecting the agency, she said.

Paxton grew angry and “stormed out” of her office, ending the meeting.

2:50 p.m.: Paxton warned about his affair, witness testifies

Paxton’s former chief of staff warned him that an extramarital affair could open him up to legal risks, including bribery or misuse of office.

The attorney general confirmed to Cary he was having an affair in the summer of 2018, she testified. At that point, she did not know the name of the woman he was seeing, Cary said. Paxton’s attorneys identified the woman alleged to have had an affair with him as Laura Olson.

One of the 20 impeachment articles accuses Paul of bribing Paxton by hiring Olson. Paul confirmed Olson was a project manager for one of his companies in a deposition in 2020, The Dallas Morning News reported in 2020. Paul denied he hired her as a favor for Paxton.

Paxton has never confirmed he had an affair.

2:15 p.m.: Paxton’s former chief of staff is sixth witness

Katherine “Missy” Cary is the sixth witness the House impeachment managers have called. Cary served as Paxton’s chief of staff from May 2016-October 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Cary has worked for multiple attorneys general, including now Sen. John Cornyn and Gov. Greg Abbott when both served as the state’s top cop.

1:45 p.m.: Ex-aide had ‘circumstantial evidence’ Paxton was being bribed

Mark Penley, the former deputy attorney general for criminal justice, had “circumstantial evidence” Paxton was being bribed by Paul, he testified.

Penley said he did not have documentary or eyewitness evidence Paul was bribing the attorney general. Multiple impeachment articles accuse Paul, the real estate investor, of bribing Paxton.

When pressed on how he knew his boss was being bribed, Penley said he observed Paxton’s behavior and the $25,000 campaign donation Paul made in 2018.

1:15 p.m.: Paxton told whistleblower to “seek the truth”

Penley testified about notes he took in 2020 about conversations with Paxton regarding Nate Paul’s allegations that state and federal authorities had violated his rights.

The attorney general told him to “seek the truth” and to “let results be what they are,” Penley wrote at the time. When defense attorney, Mitch Little, asked if he believes Paxton, Penley said that he did at the time.

11:50 a.m.: Whistleblowers’ meeting with FBI lasted four hours, witness says

Former top deputies under Paxton met with the FBI for close to four hours when they reported the attorney general and accused him of high crimes, Mark Penley testified.

The meeting included two FBI agents, the seven former aides and the attorney for all the former staff members, Penley said. They did not bring physical documents, Penley said, but their own personal experiences.

“I took my personal knowledge and the others took theirs,” he testified. “We were eyewitnesses.”

When the attorney for the House impeachment managers asked Penley if their personal knowledge counts as evidence, Penley said, “absolutely.”

11:30 a.m.: Attorney general did not trust director of state police, witness testifies

Paxton did not trust Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw because he believed the agency had run a “corrupt investigation” on the attorney general regarding his state securities fraud case, former deputy attorney general Mark Penley testified.

Paxton made multiple negative comments about law enforcement and said he did not trust such authorities, Penley said. Paxton also does not trust McCraw, who has been the director of DPS since August 2009, Penley said.

11:10 a.m.: Witness ‘drew the line’ when Paxton asked him to sign contract for outside attorney

Penley refused to sign the contract of the outside attorney Paxton wanted to hire to investigate Paul’s allegations against law enforcement, Penley testified. Paxton wanted Penley to sign the contract to hire Brandon Cammack, the Houston lawyer who later served two subpoenas on two financial institutions tied to Paul, Penley said.

“That was the day that I drew the line with the attorney general that I would not cross and I never did,” he testified.

9:55 a.m.: Paxton was ‘mistrustful’ of law enforcement, witness says

Paxton, Texas’ top cop, was “very mistrustful” of law enforcement, former deputy attorney general Mark Penley testified. Paxton, who has been under felony indictment for state securities fraud charges for more than eight years, felt like he had been mistreated by law enforcement. Penley said Paxton told him that during a period of time when Paul was asking the attorney general’s office to investigate federal officials that were investigating him.

Paul believed there was a conspiracy by the FBI and other federal officials as they investigated him.

Paxton told Penley that he had been treated negatively by law enforcement, Penley said.

“’I’ve been the subject of a corrupt investigation,’” Penley testified that Paxton told him.

9:40 a.m.: Nate Paul’s allegations against law enforcement were ‘crazy’, witness says

The allegations by Nate Paul, the real estate investor tied to Paxton’s impeachment trial, were “crazy,” Penley testified Monday.

Penley and David Maxwell, the former aide who led Paxton’s law enforcement division who testified Friday, saw no merit in Paul’s accusations against law enforcement agencies that were investigating him.

“I thought it was crazy,” Penley said. “I was hoping the attorney general would drop it. He didn’t.”

9:15 a.m.: Fifth witness is Mark Penley

House impeachment managers have called Mark Penley as their fifth witness in the trial. Penley served as the deputy attorney general for criminal justice under Paxton for one year. Penley was among the former top aides who sued the attorney general’s office, in what has been called the “whistleblowers lawsuit.”

All five witnesses called by the House impeachment managers have been the former deputies who reported Paxton to the FBI.

9 a.m. Jury deliberations could start as soon as weekend

The senators, who are serving as jurors in Paxton’s impeachment trial, could begin deliberating on the attorney general’s articles of impeachment as soon as Thursday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday morning.

Both sides have just over 14 hours left for witness testimony, Patrick said, and neither side would be granted an extension of time. After the House impeachment managers and Paxton’s defense team run out of time to bring forth witnesses, each side will have one hour to rebut evidence and one hour to make closing arguments. Jury deliberations begin after that.

“We will not take a day off until a final resolution,” Patrick said.

The rules do not limit on how long the jury can deliberate on the impeachment articles. Jury deliberations, however, will be behind closed doors and will not be seen by the public.

5 a.m.: Week 2 of Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial begins

Expect the House managers to call other former employees from the Texas attorney general’s office as we head into the second week of the impeachment trial.

To catch up on who the witnesses so far, read our who’s who here.

Sept. 8 (Day Four)

4:30: Paxton told Austin prosecutor to give Paul investigation to top aide

Paxton requested that the staffer who led his agency’s law enforcement division investigate Paul’s allegations against the FBI, the former Texas Ranger testified.

An Austin prosecutor told Maxwell that the attorney general wanted the AG’s office — not Travis County — to investigate Paul’s claim that he had been mistreated by law enforcemet. Paul also wanted the attorney general’s staff to investigate his claims of a conspiracy against him.

The agency would have committed federal crimes had they interfered in the federal investigation into Paul, Maxwell said.

Maxwell was the last witness to testify for the first week of the trial. The trial resumes Monday at 9 a.m.

3:20 p.m.: Paul asked ex-Texas Ranger to interfere in FBI investigation, witness says

Paul and his attorney asked the staffer who led Paxton’s law enforcement division for five years to illegally interfere with a federal investigation, the former Texas Ranger testified Friday.

“It’s called obstruction of justice,” Maxwell said while being cross-examined.

Paxton’s attorneys, however, are trying to argue that Paul and his attorney did not ask Maxwell explicitly to commit a crime. They simply asked him to launch an investigation.

2 p.m.: Paxton ‘ended my career’ fomer staffer says

Maxwell testified that after Paxton fired him and “berated” him in the news media, the attorney general “ended my career,” he said.

Maxwell had an almost 50-year career in law enforcement and worked for the Texas Rangers for 24 years. He was among those who sued the agency because his career ended “in a very unjust manner.”

1:30 p.m.: Ex-aide warned Paxton he could be indicted

Maxwell warned Paxton that if the attorney general did not stop associating himself with Paul that “he was gonna get himself indicted,” the former aide testified.

Maxwell interviewed Paul three times and testified that the businessman wanted the attorney general’s office to investigate multiple agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI. Paul believed there was a conspiracy against him, Maxwell said.

“It was ludicrous,” Maxwell testified.

But Paxton sided with Paul despite warnings, Maxwell said.

1 p.m.: Fourth witness: David Maxwell

David Maxwell is the fourth witness to testify in Paxton’s impeachment trial. Maxwell was a longtime Texas Ranger who led the attorney general’s law enforcement division for five years. Maxwell interviewed Paul.

He complained in an undated group text message with the whistleblowers that Paxton had wanted him to “conduct an illegal investigation” for Paul.

Maxwell was among those who sued the agency for wrongful termination.

11:45 a.m.: Our experience was evidence, ex-aide says

Vassar attempted to walk back his testimony from Thursday when he testified that he and the other former top aides under Paxton had “no evidence” when they reported the attorney general to the FBI.

Their individual experiences served as evidence, Vassar testified Friday.

“My opinion was that our experiences were evidence,” he said. “We did not conduct our own investigation to provide documentary evidence of what we had come to learn.”

Vassar added that he believed it was federal law enforcement’s job to conduct an investigation into Paxton, not the job of his aides.

11 a.m.: Testimony resumes, witness question over texts

After a 35-minute delay, the trial resumed with Vassar’s cross examination by the defense team. Paxton’s attorney’s questioned Vassar over text messages he sent to other staff members that the defense tried to suggest were mean spirited. Vassar insisted they were light-hearted messages between friends and colleagues.

9:30 a.m.: Trial delayed abruptly for 30 mins

The trial’s proceedings were delayed abruptly Friday morning for at least 30 minutes. It was not immediately clear why. A senator approached Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at the dais then appeared to leave the chamber.

8:50 a.m.: Ex-Paxton primary opponent says AG is not a victim

Former Republican congressman Louie Gohmert believes Paxton is not a victim of political prosecution, according to an essay he wrote in the conservative news outlet the Daily Caller.

Gohmert ran against Paxton in the 2022 Republican primary, ultimately coming in fourth in the primary.

“I fought two unjust impeachments of President Trump.,” Gohmert wrote. “I’ve seen corrupt prosecution. Pursuing Paxton is not it.”

5 a.m.: Paxton whistleblower will resume testimony this morning

A former top aide who was among staffers who reported Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to the FBI is expected to take the stand today as the first week of the impeachment trial wraps up.

Vassar was among employees who sued the after alleging the attorney general retaliated against them after they turned to law enforcement. Paxton’s request for $3.3 million to settle the whistleblowers’ lawsuit prompted lawmakers to investigate their allegations, which led to the impeachment trial.

Sept. 7 (Day Three)

5:40 p.m.: Former aides had ‘no evidence’ when reporting Paxton to FBI, witness says

During cross-examination, Vassar testified that he and the other former top aides who reported Paxton to the FBI did not have evidence that the attorney general had committed a crime.

“We had no evidence that we could point to, but we had reasonable conclusions that we could draw,” Vassar testified when questioned by Mitch Little, one of the attorneys defending Paxton during the trial.

Vassar added that staff believed that criminal activity had occurred and that was why they chose to report him on Sept. 30, 2020. Vassar testified that they were not collecting evidence when they reported him.

4:45 p.m.: Outside attorney had ‘no authority’ to represent agency

Vassar testified that outside attorney Brandon Cammack, who served subpoenas to two financial institutions on behalf of the attorney general’s office, had “no authority” to represent himself as someone who worked for the agency in 2020.

Vassar testified that as deputy for legal counsel, he determined that Cammack could work for the agency but did not have a proper contract that would have allowed him to do so. After he signed the paperwork for Cammack, the contract then went to another staffer who also needed to sign off so it could be valid.

That staffer, Mark Penley, refused to sign Cammack’s contract. Penley was the deputy attorney general for criminal justice and among the staffers who went to the FBI with concerns. He later sued the agency alleging he had been wrongfully terminated.

Prior testimony from other former staffers said that when Cammack issued the subpoenas to the financial institutions it led to a “crisis moment” within the agency.

2:45 p.m.: Former top deputy chokes up during testimony

Ryan Vassar, the former deputy general counsel under Paxton, choked up on the witness stand when he reacted to the attorney general calling him and the other top deputies who reported Paxton to the FBI as “rogue employees.”

“It was hurtful,” Vassar said as he wiped away tears. “The statement of being ‘rogue’ is contrary to the years that I’ve dedicated my life to the state.”

Vassar is the third witness to testify in the trial but he is the first of the four former employees who sued the attorney general’s office, alleging they were fired after accusing Paxton of abusing the office to help a campaign donor. Paxton and the whistleblowers reached a settlement agreement earlier this year, which included more than a $3.3 million payment to them.

Paxton also agreed to apologize for calling them “rogue employees” and state that they “acted in a manner that they thought was right.”

Paxton, however, asked the Legislature to fund the settlement. His request of state funds prompted House members to begin an investigation into the whistleblower’s allegations, leading to Paxton’s impeachment.

2:35 p.m.: Legal opinion connected to Nate Paul scrutinized

During cross-examination of Bangert, one of Paxton’s defense attorney’s, Anthony Osso Jr., scrutinized the opinion that was issued in 2020 that House managers allege Paxton issued to Paul’s benefit.

Osso tried to shoot down Bangert’s argument that the opinion was an uncommon interpretation regarding foreclosure sales.

11:10 a.m.: Paxton confronted former aide after they reported him to FBI

After Bangert reported Paxton to the FBI, along with seven other former aides, Paxton privately told Bangert that he was only working at the attorney general’s office because the state’s top law enforcement officer hired him.

“He was very agitated in my view,” Bangert testified about the one-on-one encounter. “It was a very odd conversation.”

The one-on-one encounter occurred after Bangert had resigned from the agency following reporting him to the FBI.

“I wasn’t quite sure how to respond,” Bangert said.

10:40 a.m.: Aides did not want to report Paxton to FBI, ex deputy says

Paxton’s former top aides did not want to report their boss to the FBI but felt like they had run out of options, Bangert testified.

They knew by reporting the attorney general to law enforcement they were “signing our professional death warrant,” at the same time, he said.

Paxton’s former aides tried to avoid reporting him to the federal authorities.

“But when the moment came, we realized there was no other choice,” Bangert said. “That is the duty of a public employee, to ultimately make that incredibly hard choice to serve the public interest.”

10:20 a.m.: Texas attorney general’s office ‘hijacked’ to help Paul, witness says

Bangert said he was concerned that the attorney general’s office was being “hijacked” to serve Nate Paul’s interests over those of the general public. Bangert testified he became increasingly worried that the agency was becoming more and more involved with Paul, the embattled real-estate developer under investigation by the FBI, and taking time away from other matters.

“The criminal process had been harnessed to pursue the business enemies of an individual, Nate Paul, who also happened to be under intensive investigation by law enforcement,” Bangert said.

9:30 a.m.: Paxton witness describes ‘craziest’ meeting with Nate Paul

Ryan Bangert, who worked as deputy first assistant attorney under Paxton, described a meeting between Paxton, Paul, Drew Wicker and himself at a Mexican restaurant in 2020. Wicker was Paxton’s former executive aide.

Bangert testified that he was uncomfortable at the lunch and felt he had been “summoned” to hear Paul’s complaints against authorities who were investigating him and his businesses. After the lunch, which lasted about 40 minutes, Banger testified, he confided to Wicker that he had never seen anything like that meeting.

“I told him, ‘Drew, that was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen,” said Bangert, who was among those who reported Paxton to the FBI.

9 a.m.: Senator reminds public of gag order

Activists have been urged to flood senators’ offices with phone calls.

But Sen. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, released a statement on X this morning reminding constituents that he cannot discuss Paxton’s impeachment trial with the general public as he, and the other senators who are serving as jurors, are under a gag order.

5 a.m.: Former aide who detailed pressure from Paxton expected to continue testimony

Today’s hearing will begin at 9 a.m. Ryan Bangert, who worked as deputy first assistant attorney under Paxton, will be the first witness of the day. He as among staffers who reported the attorney general to the FBI.

Yesterday, Bangert described how Paxton applied “pressure” on him to help Nate Paul obtain a sealed probable cause affidavit. He testified that the agency helped Paul in ways that included an intervention into a civil lawsuit between an Austin charity and Paul’s real estate company; attempting to provide confidential documents related to a 2019 FBI raid of Paul’s home and business; and a so-called “midnight” legal opinion that thwarted the foreclosure sale of several of Paul’s properties.

Sept. 6 (Day Two)

6:15 p.m.: Paxton acted like he had “gun to his head,” witness says

Bangert, who says he oversaw the committee in the attorney general’s office that issues legal opinions, testified that Paxton acted like a man “with a gun to his head” as he was trying to get Bangert and another former staffer to issue a legal opinion that would benefit Paul in 2020.

The opinion is central to the second impeachment article that accuses Paxton of having his staff issue an opinion that would have been helped Paul by ruling that outdoor foreclosure sales should not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangert described Paxton as being uncharacteristically hands-on throughout the opinion process.

“He would have suggestions, but the degree of interference here was completely unprecedented,” Bangert testified.

5:30 p.m.: Paxton sends fundraising email during trial

The attorney general sent out a fundraising email around the time as Ryan Bangert, his former deputy first assistant attorney general, testified in the trial.

“With your help, I can be back in office by the end of the month,” the fundraising email read.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the state senators serving as jurors and the Texas House managers presenting the case have all vowed to not fundraise during the proceedings.

4:12 p.m. Next witness: Ryan Bangert

Ryan Bangert is a former deputy first assistant attorney general under Paxton. He is now vice president for the far-right conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.

Bangert was among the former top employees at the Texas Attorney General’s who left the agency after concerns about Paxton’s involvement with Paul surfaced. He was not among the whistleblowers who sued after their departure from the office.

3:30 p.m.: Paxton’s attorney accuses top aide of a “coup” against the AG

Paxton’s defense attorney accused the attorney general’s former top aide of trying to oust Paxton from office from within the agency and in collaboration with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.

Mateer repeatedly denied the accusation.

“You were involved in staging a coup, weren’t you?” Buzbee asked.

“Absolutely not,” Mateer countered.

“That’s what you were up to,” Buzbee said. “That’s the reason you went to the governor’s office. That’s the reason you were talking to TLR. That’s the reason that you had or engaged in conduct removing your boss’s name. You were staging a coup, weren’t you?

“Absolutely not,” Mateer said again.

1:45 p.m.: Buzbee asks about meeting with governor’s staff

After lunch, Paxton’s lawyer Tony Buzbee continued his cross examination of Jeff Mateer. He was one of several top employees who reported Paxton to the FBI in 2020 for alleged corruption.

They made the report on Sept. 30 of that year.

Buzbee then pointed out that George P. Bush, who challenged Paxton during the 2022 GOP primary election, filed to re-up his law license the next day. He then asked about a meeting Mateer and of other aides who reported Paxton to the FBI had around that time with Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff.

Mateer said Abbott’s chief of staff, Luis Saenz, and two others were there. Buzbee asked if the governor’s former chief of staff, Daniel Hodge, was in attendance, Mateer said no. Buzbee then pointed out that Hodge is now a lobbyist.

Buzbee moved on to another line of questioning soon after.

12:15 p.m.: Mateer gets cross-examined by Paxton’s attorney

After almost 90 minutes of testimony during questioning on behalf of the House managers, Tony Buzbee began to cross-examine Mateer.

Buzbee, one of the two attorneys defending Paxton throughout the impeachment trial, has been asking Mateer about why he doesn’t have certain notes he kept on an agency-issued iPad. Mateer explained that he kept information on a note-taking app.

11:20 a.m.: Paxton was engaged in “immoral, unethical” and “illegal” things

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was engaged in “immoral, unethical” and “illegal” conduct, his former top deputy testified Wednesday during his impeachment trial.

Toward the end of almost 90 minutes of testimony, Mateer revealed why he and several other top aides reported Paxton to the FBI in 2020. Paxton had become a friend after Mateer served as his top deputy for four years, the former staffer said.

“I cared for him. I cared for Sen. Paxton,” he said.Related:Where is Ken Paxton? After pleading not guilty, Texas AG skips his impeachment trial

Mateer said that one of the responsibilities of the First Assistant Attorney General is to protect the state’s top law enforcement officer.

“I obviously failed at that,” he said. “Despite my efforts, the other deputies efforts, we couldn’t protect him because he didn’t want to be protected.”

11 a.m.: Mateer describes ‘crisis moment’ regarding Paxton donor Nate Paul

Shortly after finding out that an outside attorney was issuing subpoenas on behalf of the Texas attorney general’s office, despite prior objections from Mateer and other senior staffers in the office, Mateer described a “crisis” in the agency regarding Nate Paul.

“Everything regarding Mr. Paul was kind of coming to a head,” Mateer said.

Mateer testified that he was frustrated with himself that as he met with other top aides and learned more about Paul and Paxton’s relationship, he did not know more.

“I beat myself up a little bit,” he testified.

10:35 a.m.: Paxton yelled at Mateer due to disagreements over donor investigation

In the more than four years Mateer was Paxton’s top aide, the attorney general only raised his voice at Mateer two times, the former top staffer said.

One had to do with Mateer’s disagreement that Paxton should not hire an outside attorney to investigate accusations made by Paul, an embattled real-estate developer, that he was being mistreated by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Paxton is accused of hiring an outside attorney personally after objections by his top aides to investigate Paul’s allegations.

10:15 a.m.: Legal opinion went against attorney general office arguments

Mateer said a legal opinion that the attorney general’s office issued went against what Paxton’s office had asked for during the COVID-19 pandemic. House impeachment managers have accused Paxton of asking Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, to seek a legal opinion that would have been beneficial to Paul.

The legal opinion ruled that outdoor foreclosure sales should not take place due to the ongoing pandemic. The attorney general’s office was arguing for reopenings, Mateer testified.

“It was as if Anthony Fauci had written it,” Mateer said referring to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022.

10 a.m.: Paxton has nothing to hide, attorney says

Paxton attorney Tony Buzbee told the court that Paxton has nothing to hide and that the defense team would not object again during the trial that a communication between the attorney general and another individual is confidential.

“Attorney General Ken Paxton has nothing to hide,” Buzbee said.

He clarified that he may object if he considers something is hearsay, communication that cannot be substantiated, but won’t object that it is confidential.

9:30 a.m.: Paxton not in chamber

Paxton was not in the Senate chamber Wednesday morning. The attorney general was present on yesterday morning for the beginning of the trial and also pleaded not guilty to all of the impeachment articles. But after Tuesday’s lunch break, Paxton was absent. Attorneys for the House impeachment managers objected that Paxton was not there. Patrick, however, ruled that he did not have to be there for the entirety of the proceedings.

9:00 a.m.: Empty Senate chamber

About 150 spectators showed up Tuesday for the first day of the trial, but on Wednesday the number dropped off significantly. About a dozen spectators were spread out in the gallery shortly before the days proceedings were set to begin.

6:53 a.m.: Day 2 of Paxton’s impeachment trial

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said little in public heading into this week’s impeachment trial as a gag order is place. He and wife Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, appeared at a Collin County event this holiday weekend where he lambasted the House members who impeached him and said he would love to talk about what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

After the first day wrapped up yesterday, he sent out a social media post thanking his supporters. “I will never back down for defending freedom,” he added.

5 a.m.: Testimony of first witness expected to continue

Today the trial is expected to start with continued testimony from the first witness, Jeff Mateer, the former second-in-command under Paxton. Mateer was among the eight former employees who reported Paxton to law enforcement and accused him of serious crimes.

He began describing for senators on Tuesday afternoon how he was concerned about Paxton’s involvement with Nate Paul, a real estate developer who is under federal indictment.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate president, ended the proceedings early on the first day of the trial saying he would need to further address what can be used as evidence and what would be shielded under attorney-client privilege. Patrick said a decision would be made this morning.

Paxton’s side will get the chance to cross examine Mateer after the House managers finish their questioning.

Sept. 5 (Day One)

5 p.m.: Trial abruptly adjourns for the day

The first day of Paxton’s impeachment trial ended about an hour earlier than expected.

At first, Patrick announced that the court would take a 5 minute break. The break lasted closer to 30 minutes, and Patrick then announced they had “a couple of things to deal with,” regarding what statements witnesses can make when it comes to legal advice given to Paxton.

They debated what constitutes attorney-client privilege. Patrick said a decision would be made Wednesday morning.

4:15 p.m.: Former top deputy told Paxton to not meet with Paul

Mateer was “insistent” in a meeting with Paxton to not get involved in Paul’s legal troubles, Mateer testified.

“I was hopeful that he would allow the professionals in the Office of Attorney General to do their jobs and he wouldn’t be involved anymore,” said Mateer, the former handpicked second-in-command under Paxton.

Mateer asked for the meeting after he learned Paxton had planned to show up to Travis County District Court to argue a motion that involved a charity’s lawsuit against Paul. Matter said it was “inconceivable” that Paxton would personally get involved in the matter.

Following the meeting with Paxton, Mateer was hopeful, he testified, that Paxton would not be involved in Paul’s legal matters.

3:40 p.m. Former staffers were all conservatives, witness says

In describing the political leanings of the eight former staffers in the attorney general’s office who ended up reporting Paxton to law enforcement, Mateer described all of them as conservatives. Paxton’s team has tried to paint the former staffers as being RINOs (Republican’s in name only).

“We were committed to the rule of law and to conservative governance,” Mateer stressed.

3:20 p.m. Paxton’s former second-in-command called as first witness

The first witness in the trial is Jeff Mateer, the former First Assistant Attorney General, who was a loyal second-in-command to Paxton for several years. He was among the former staffers who reported Paxton the FBI for alleged bribery.

Mateer was not among the former four staffers who sued the attorney generals office, collectively known as the whistleblowers whose lawsuit settlement prompted the impeachment process. However, he was one of the eight who reported their boss to law enforcement officials.

“I believe in the rule of law, and I believe in conservative policies and conservative practice,” Mateer said while being questioned by Rusty Hardin, one of the two attorneys for the House impeachment managers.

2:38 p.m. Opening arguments end

Each side had different approaches to their opening arguments. The House managers side, led by Murr, spoke for less than 20 minutes and said the evidence would show Paxton should not only be removed from office but also never be allowed to hold elected office again.

Paxton’s side used almost all 60 minutes of their time.

After a short break, it appears the first witness will be called to the stand.

2:29 p.m.: Paxton’s attorneys argue there’s no quid-pro-quo

Both of Paxton’s attorneys, Tony Buzbee and Dan Cogdell, spent their hour of the opening arguments emphatically arguing that there was no quid-pro-quo between Paxton and real estate developer Nate Paul. They stressed that the attorney general paid for the renovations in his own house and that the accusations against Paxton have been spun to make him look guilty.

“We’re going to impeach a sitting attorney general for giving the direction, ‘Find the truth?’” Cogdell asked in an at times emotional talk in the Senate chamber. He was referring to Paxton’s hiring of an outside lawyer to investigate Paul’s concerns about an FBI raid.

Buzbee, meanwhile, painted the impeachment proceedings as one led by Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, arguing that Phelan was drunk on the job and because Paxton called on him to resign, Phelan set out to have Paxton removed from office.

There has never been any proof that Phelan was drunk on the job.

1:45 p.m. Opening arguments run short

Both sides had one hour to give opening arguments, however neither side used the entire time. Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction City, said the House uncovered “egregious misconduct.”

“The voters did not and do not know the whole truth,” said Murr, the chairman of the House managers who are going to make the case against Paxton.

Tony Buzbee, one of the attorneys defending Paxton, on the other hand, argued again that there is nothing to support impeachment, that Paxton did not use burner phones, and said the attorney general was being prosecuted in the press.

“There are no facts to support this,” Buzbee said emphatically.

1:15 p.m.: Paxton not on floor as opening arguments begin

There was a notable absence as Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction City, began laying out the opening arguments. Murr is the chairman of the House Board of Impeachment Managers, which will lay out the case against Paxton.

Rusty Hardin, one of the two attorneys for the managers who will prosecute Paxton, along with Dick DeGuerin, objected that Paxton was not on the floor and said he should be required. Patrick disagreed and said he only had to be on the floor at the beginning of the trial.

12:00 p.m. Witnesses sworn in

Six witnesses were sworn in, among them, Paxton’s former second-in-command Jeff Mateer. He was among a group of eight employees who reported the attorney general to the FBI for alleged corruption in late 2020. Four of them, not including Mateer, alleging they were fired for making the report.

Their whistleblower lawsuit settlement sparked the impeachment proceedings against Paxton.

Another one of the witnesses is Paul Singer, who worked in the Office of the Attorney General for more than 20 years until 2021, most recently as the associate deputy attorney general for civil litigation, according to his LinkedIn.

And a third witnesses is Austin Kinghorn, who is the Associate Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel at the attorney general’s office. He has held that position since February, according to his LinkedIn.

11:50 a.m.: Paxton pleads not guilty to each article of impeachment

As the impeachment articles are read outloud, Paxton stands between his lawyers motionless.

His lawyer Tony Buzbee answers to each article of impeachment, saying Paxton is “not guilty” to each allegation. Article 2, which references Sen. Bryan Hughes, sitting just behind Paxton’s defense table. Hughes does not react during its reading.

Two articles of impeachment accuse Paxton of bribery. Buzbee balks after the articles are read.

“Those allegations are flat out false. the attorney general pleads not guilty,” Buzbee says.

Rusty Hardin, lawyer for the House managers bringing the case against Paxton, objects in the middle of the recitation to Buzbee commenting on each allegations instead of plainly stating his plea. Patrick sustained the objection, which cut off Buzbee’s extraneous comments.

11:15 a.m. Paxton cannot be forced to testify

Paxton cannot be forced to testify in his impeachment trial, Patrick ruled in a motion that could be considered a win for the attorney general. A confidential witness list obtained by The Dallas Morning News showed that House managers intended to call Paxton as a witness.

House managers disagreed and argued he must take the stand if they subpoena him but can refuse to answer questions by exercising his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

Patrick sided with Paxton.

11 a.m.: Senators reject all of Paxton’s pre-trial motions

In a blow to Paxton, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected all 16 of the motions Paxton filed before the trial. The motions varied but they asked either to dismiss all of the articles of impeachment, individual articles, or exclude certain evidence.

A simple majority was required to grant any of Paxton’s motions and the Senate has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, Paxton’s wife, was not allowed to cast a vote, meaning a party-line vote could have granted any motion.

That didn’t happen.

10:30 a.m.: Senators refuse to dismiss individual impeachment articles

Paxton sat attentively and did not look back at the Senators as they voted down his attempts to dismiss individual articles. Paxton’s team not only filed a motion to dismiss all of the articles of impeachment but had also hoped to get some of the 20 thrown out.

The Senate will not consider four of the articles that deal with his years-long felony securities fraud case.

Each vote to dismiss an individual article was not particularly close. The closes vote was to dismiss impeachment Article 8, which accused Paxton of misusing his office for entering into a settlement agreement with four former employees who sued the attorney general’s office after they reported Paxton to law enforcement officials in 2020.

The vote on motion article was 20-10.

10 a.m.: Supporters of Paxton delivered letters to lawmakers’ offices

A half dozen members True Texas Project, an outgrowth of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party that has 18 chapters statewide, gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to make assignments.

”We’re not launching a protest but we have been very vocal from the beginning that we’re opposed to the process” by which Paxton was impeached, said Fran Rhodes of Fort Worth, president of the group.

9:50 a.m.: Senators decline motion to exclude evidence

Senators quashed an attempt by Paxton to exclude evidence prior to 2023. Paxton’s team argued that because Texas voters reelected him in 2022 despite knowing about his alleged wrongdoings, then any evidence uncovered before this year should not be presented during the trial.

Senators overwhelmingly disagreed along a 22-8 vote. The eight senators who voted to dismiss the evidence were all Republicans.

9:45 a.m.: Senators refuse to dismiss all impeachment articles

The senators overwhelmingly rejected a motion by Paxton’s side to dismiss all articles of impeachment on a 24-6 vote. The six senators who voted to dismiss the articles were all Republicans.

9:40 a.m.: Senators vote on pre-trial motions

The senators have begun voting on the various pre-trial motions that were filed by Paxton’s team. Some of the motions call for dismissing all or specific articles of impeachment, or excluding evidence.

9:35 a.m.: Prominent conservatives support Paxton

Several prominent conservatives tweeted out support for Paxton on Tuesday morning. Donald Trump Jr., the son of former President Donald Trump, tweeted out that the trial is just another example of Paxton fighting back against the political establishment and RINOs (Republican in Name Only).

Conservative allies of Paxton throughout the country have blasted Paxton’s impeachment as a political witch-hunt.

9:15 a.m.: The oath the senators recited

Here is the oath each senator was required to say while they were sworn in.

“I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will impartially try Warren Kenneth Paxton, Jr., attorney general of Texas, upon the impeachment charges submitted to me by the House of Representatives, and a true verdict render according to the law and the evidence so help me God.”

Ken Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, was not sworn in as she is not allowed to vote during the trial.

9:08 a.m.: Texas senators sworn in on the Sam Houston bible

All 31 Senators have filed into the Senate chamber and each one is being sworn in using the bible of Sam Houston, a Texas legend who served as the first President of the Republic of Texas and was one of the first U.S. Senators for the Lone Star State.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the bible was appropriate for the historic proceedings.

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

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