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(Photo courtesy of Eddie Gaspar | The Texas Tribune)

Impeachment trial of Texas AG brings to light extramarital affair, abuse of power

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial is entering its final days, with the defense finally calling their own witnesses to rebuke the allegations.

Paxton was impeached in May by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives, accused of bribery, abuse of office and related crimes. He is currently on trial in the Republican-controlled Texas Senate, which will determine whether he is removed from office.

At the crux of the allegations are testimonies by Paxton’s former staff suggesting that the Attorney General abused his power and broke the law to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul.

“I witnessed Attorney General Ken Paxton do brazen things on behalf of Nate Paul,” former Deputy AG for Policy and Strategic Initiatives James Blake Brickman testified Wednesday.

Witnesses also testified that Paxton had an extramarital affair which bled over into official work, and led to “uncomfortable” conversations between employees and Angela Paxton.

“I told General Paxton quite bluntly it wasn’t my business who he was sleeping with, but when things bleed over into the office and into the state work, it becomes my business,” testified Katherine Cary, Paxton’s former chief of staff. 

A conviction verdict would require 21 of the 30 eligible Texas senators. Paxton’s wife Angela Paxton being banned from voting, and though she can sit in on the trial, she has been absent for most of it.

In addition, Paxton has been under independent FBI investigation since 2020 over the same allegations he was impeached for, is waiting to go on trial for a state-level securities fraud charge from 2015 and is facing disciplinary action from the Texas state bar for attempting to subvert the 2020 election.

Paxton has repeatedly accused his legal troubles of being politically-motivated – much like former President Donal Trump, who wrote in support of Paxton on his social media platform, Truth Social.

“Democrats are feeling very good right now as they watch, as usual, the Republicans fight & eat away at each other,” the former President wrote. “It’s a SAD day in the Great State of Texas!”

The defense has also called current employees to testify on Paxton’s behalf.

“I assured myself and I assured my wife that if there were ever anything that I saw that were illegal or unethical that I would step away,” said Austin Kinghorn, a senior state lawyer. “And I’m still here. I’m proud to serve General Paxton.”

Paxton is represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee. The prosecution is represented by Rusty Hardin and Dick DeGuerin. All three have been involved in high-profile cases in Texas, including NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson’s sexual misconduct case, which previously pitted Hardin against Buzbee.


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