From The Texas Newsroom:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday in an impeachment trial before the state Senate. He was accused of abusing his office to protect a political donor.
Paxton has been suspended from his duties since May, when the Texas House of Representatives voted to impeach him. Saturday’s vote automatically reinstates Paxton to his role as attorney general, a position he’s used to create a national profile as an advocate for conservative values and as a policy challenger of Democratic presidents.
Senators deliberated for nearly nine hours before reaching a verdict. A two-thirds vote — or 21 of the 30 eligible senators — was needed to convict Paxton on each of the 16 articles of impeachment he faced. Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, was recused from voting.
The impeachment charges
This verdict is the culmination of a nearly four-month saga that started in May, when the GOP-led Texas House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to impeach Paxton.
The House’s move came after Paxton asked for $3.3 million to settle a lawsuit with four of his former deputies who sued him after being fired shortly after they reported Paxton’s alleged misdeeds to the FBI.
Prosecutors said that in 2019, Paxton asked his top deputies for legal counsel on a disputed records request involving Nate Paul, an Austin businessman who was being investigated by federal law enforcement.
Paxton’s staff researched Paul and found the businessman had multiple bankruptcies and was under investigation from the FBI, so they advised Paxton not to release the documents.
Texas House investigators say a few months later, in 2020, Paxton told one of his deputies he didn’t want his office to help the FBI or the Texas Department of Public Safety on the investigation involving Paul.