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Here’s what we know about the Texas AG Ken Paxton impeachment verdict

The attorney general was acquitted on 16 of 20 articles of impeachment in his trial. So what’s next?

l Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was on the Senate floor after the Senate lawmakers adjourned for deliberation during day 9 of his impeachment trial.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

By Aarón TorresRobert T. Garrett and Gromer Jeffers Jr.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted on 16 of 20 articles of impeachment following a trial that lasted about two weeks.

He is the first statewide official to face an impeachment trial and be acquitted. The four remaining articles of impeachment, which were not discussed in the trial, were dismissed by the senators.

The third-term Republican faced allegations of bribery, corruption and other wrongdoings in connection to his dealings with Austin businessman Nate Paul. His wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, was not allowed to vote in her husband’s impeachment trial.

What does an acquittal mean?

Paxton has been suspended from duties since he was impeached by the Texas House in late May. This clears the way for him to return. Angela Colmenero, has served as interim AG since July.


So who is Ken Paxton?

Read our in-depth profile of the state’s top lawyer, who began his political career in Texas in 2002 as a state representative from the McKinney area. He was elected as a state senator in 2012 and later became attorney general in 2015.

Are Ken Paxton’s legal troubles over?

No. He’s still facing multiple state criminal fraud indictments, a whistleblower lawsuitan FBI investigation and a state bar disciplinary case.

What does an attorney general do anyway?

The attorney general is responsible for representing Texas in litigation; defending laws and the state constitution; and approving public bond issues.

What led to his impeachment?

Video: Why is Attorney General Ken Paxton facing an impeachment trial?

What started the impeachment proceedings in the Legislature?

Paxton reached a $3.3 million whistleblower settlement with former employees who said they were let go from the agency after reporting their boss to the FBI. Paxton needed approval from lawmakers to use state funds to pay the settlement. That request prompted an investigation into the matter by the House. Representatives overwhelmingly voted for impeachment.


What happened in Paxton’s impeachment trial?

Senators heard from former top aides, many of whom reported Paxton to the FBI. Lawmakers did not hear directly from Paxton, businessman Nate Paul or the woman with whom the attorney general is alleged to have had an affair.

Day 1: Senators’ vote against dismissing the charges

Day 2: Paxton’s defense alleges former deputies attempted a “coup”

Day 3: Former staff testifies that AG’s office was ‘hijacked’ by a Nate Paul

Day 4: Former top cop warned Paxton that Paul would be his downfall


Day 5: AG’s former chief of staff warned that alleged affair exposed him to bribery

Day 6: Paxton’s handpicked lawyer ‘fired up’ to work on case that ended in scandal

Day 7: alleged ex-lover deemed unable to testify

Day 8: Defense rests after calling four witnesses, all current executives in the AG’s office

Day 9: Closing arguments


Day 10: Paxton acquitted

When did Paxton’s troubles begin?

This timeline details key moments in the attorney general’s time in public office, including the state criminal fraud charges he faces.

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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