From the Texas Newsroom:
The seventh day of Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial opened with House impeachment managers saying they planned to call Laura Olson, who allegedly had an affair with the embattled Republican, as a witness.
Paxton, who is currently suspended from his role as Texas attorney general, stands accused of abusing the power of his office to assist Nate Paul — an Austin real estate investor and Paxton political donor — in a variety of legal matters. Specific charges include multiple counts of dereliction of duty and constitutional bribery, among others. If convicted on any of the charges, Paxton will be removed from office.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ruled prosecutors would have to wait to call Olson until the afternoon, however, as they had given fewer than 24 hours notice of their intention to do so. Patrick later said Olson was deemed “unavailable to testify.”
Prior witnesses against Paxton have included several of Paxton’s former top deputies in the Texas Attorney General’s Office, as well as an outside attorney Paxton briefly engaged as a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation on Paul’s behalf.
‘They tried to force a settlement’
While much of Wednesday’s testimony centered around who paid for renovations to Ken Paxton’s Austin home, the first witness to take the stand was Ray Chester, an attorney for the Mitte Foundation. Chester described multiple lawsuits between the Texas-based charitable foundation and Nate Paul’s company, World Class Holdings.
The foundation sued Paul for fraud starting in 2018. Earlier, former Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation Darren McCarty testified that Paxton intervened in the litigation in 2020, arguing it had gone on too long.
The first impeachment article against Paxton charges him with dereliction of duty, specifically failing to protect the charitable organization. “Paxton harmed the Mitte Foundation in an effort to benefit Paul,” the article reads.
Chester testified that the Attorney General’s Office put consistent pressure on the Mitte Foundation to settle its lawsuits for “pennies on the dollar.” On cross examination, Chester held firm to his position.
“They tried to force a settlement,” Chester said. “They were trying, but they could not force us.”