Ken Paxton

‘One of the most difficult things,' former ally says as impeachment deliberations begin

Verdict in Ken Paxton impeachment trial could come at any time; If any of the articles are sustained, Paxton would become the first statewide official convicted on impeachment charges in more than 100 years

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  • A jury of 30 Texas Senators are deliberating the 16 verdicts. Their decision to vote on the articles could come at any time.
  • While deliberations are private, the Senators will vote in the Senate Chamber, in public.
  • For a conviction on any article of impeachment, two-thirds of the Senators must sustain the article. A conviction of a single article would remove the attorney general from office.

The Republican-led Texas Senate began deliberations Friday into whether impeached Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton should be removed from office.

Paxton faces 16 articles of impeachment over allegations that he abused his power as Texas’ top lawyer to protect a donor who was under FBI investigation. The three-term incumbent has denounced the impeachment as politically motivated.

The deliberations began after Texas lawmakers leading the impeachment made a final appeal Friday to the jury of senators to sustain the articles following nearly two weeks of testimony.  They did so in the presence of Paxton, who has not been in the Senate chamber since pleading not guilty 10 days ago.

In the closing's final minutes, Plano Rep. Jeff Leach, a longtime friend and ally of Paxton's, spoke on behalf of the House Board of Managers.

"As strong as we believe the evidence to be, make no mistake this is not an easy vote for you … it wasn't for me," Leach said, speaking to the members of the senate. "My dear friend. A political mentor. A brother in Christ and a once-trusted advisor, this has not just been a hard vote. This has been one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do in my life."

NBC 5 News
Defense attorney Tony Buzbee, left, and suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, right, at his impeachment hearing, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is the presiding judge in the hearing, ordered the senators to begin deliberations Friday afternoon and to go no later than 8 p.m. If no decision is made Friday, the senators were expected to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Saturday and again at noon on Sunday.

A verdict could arrive at anytime. Patrick said he'd provide the media and the public with at least 30 minutes notice. That verdict will be able to be watched live in the video player at the top of this page.

In an angry and defiant rebuttal, Paxton lawyer Tony Buzbee unleashed attacks on a wide-ranging cast of figures both inside and outside the Texas Capitol, mocking a Texas Ranger who warned Paxton he was risking indictment and another accuser who cried on the witness stand.

Leaning into flaring divisions among Republicans, Buzbee portrayed the impeachment as a plot orchestrated by an old guard of GOP rivals. He singled out George P. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush who challenged Paxton in the 2022 Republican primary, punctuating a blistering closing argument that questioned the integrity of FBI agents and railed against Texas’ most famous political dynasty.

“This is a political trial,” Buzbee said. "I would suggest to you it’s a political witch hunt."

Paxton, who until Friday had attended only the first few hours of the trial, sat at the defense table and sipped from a cup. His return did not go unnoticed.

“He hasn’t even bothered to be here for the whole trial,” Murr said. “Clearly he thinks he might get away with this.”

"Mr Buzbee you said in your closing that we're here because we hate Ken Paxton and you could not be more wrong. I have loved Ken Paxton for a long time. I've done life with Ken Paxton. We've traveled together. Attend chuch together," Leach said. "I've block-walked for Ken. I've donated to Ken. I've supported Ken, I've asked others to do the same. The first bill I passed in the legislature in 2013, the only bill I passed that session, was sponsored by then-Sen. Ken Paxton. Which is one of the reasons this is so difficult for me and many of our House members and I know will be for many of you as well."

If convicted on any of the 16 articles of impeachment, Paxton would become the first statewide official convicted on impeachment charges in more than 100 years.


11:53 a.m. Jury deliberations began.

11:52 a.m. Patrick ordered that the jurors work until at least 8 p.m. tonight. If a decision is not reached, the jurors will work until 8 p.m. on Saturday. If a decision is still not reached, the jurors must return at noon on Sunday and Patrick may consider sequestering the jury. "You have serious work to do," Patrick said.

11:51 a.m. Patrick gave the instructions to the jury before deliberations began. Patrick said the question before the jurors about each Article of Impeachment is "shall this article be sustained?"

11:50 a.m. "May God bless you senators, and may God bless the people of Texas," Leach said before ending his closing argument.

11:49 a.m. In closing, Leach quoted Martin Luther King: "Cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?"

11:48 a.m. Leach called the whistleblowers "men and women of high esteem." He said their decision to speak out took courage. "I want you to know that the House has seen you and heard you."

11:47 a.m. Leach said he called Paxton to come before his committee 12 times and not once did he show up to answer questions about his behavior. "The people of Texas deserve answers," Leach said.

11:46 a.m. Leach spoke about his experience with Paxton and how he became increasingly concerned with Paxton's behavior. When Buzbee objected and said that Leach was testifying, Lt. Gov Patrick said, "The jury will decide what is evidence."

11:45 a.m. Leach called Paxton a friend and a mentor. "I have loved Ken Paxton for a long time," Leach said. He referenced multiple times he supported Paxton and asked others to donate to his campaign. "Which is one of the reasons this is so difficult for me," Leach said, adding that he knew how difficult it was for the other senators on the jury.

11:44 a.m. Leach recalled when the senators were sworn in on the Sam Houston bible. He told the senators that this was the "hardest vote, the most difficult vote, the heaviest vote," that they would ever cast in the legislature.

11:43 a.m. Leach began by saying that he did not want to be at the impeachment trial. He said his closing remarks were his and his alone.

NBC 5 News
Onetime friend and ally of Ken Paxton, Plano Rep. Jeff Leach delivers closing arguments in the attorney general's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.

11:42 a.m. "Now is your time to do right," Murr told the jury before yielding his time to Rep. Jeff Leach.

11:41 a.m. "That is a godless, rudderless morality, and it cannot be the new reality for Texas," Murr said.

11:40 a.m. Murr said Maxwell was "a man beyond reproach" but when he did not comply with Paxton's requests, suddenly he was called a liar. "We say we back the blue in this building?" Murr asked the jury about what happened to Maxwell.

11:39 a.m. "The office of the Attorney General of Texas is Mr. Paxton's law firm, and [Nate Paul] is their only client," Murr said, quoting previous testimony.

11:38 a.m. "Members of the jury, this is the most important choice you have ever faced," Murr said, adding that the result of this trial will shape what Texas politics looks like. He said Paul brought wealth and a lavish lifestyle to the partnership with Paxton, and Paxton brought the power of the State.

11:37 a.m. "Is it a coincidence that Paxton ordered his people to intervene in the Mitte Foundation when they had already waived intervention?" Murr asked. He listed other alleged coincidences including Paul paying for Paxton's home renovations, Paul giving Olson a job, and Paxton terminating the whistleblowers' employment.

11:35 a.m. Murr explained what "beyond a reasonable doubt" means. He said the jurors should consider "is there doubt and is it reasonable... The law does not require that we exclude all doubt," Murr said.

11:34 a.m. "These acts were an abuse of office and a breach of public trust," Murr said of Paxton's dealings with Paul, adding that Paxton was "using an inordinate amount of resources" to deal with Paul.

11:32 a.m. Murr showed the jury documents in which Nate Paul asked about the timeline and photos of Paxton's home renovations. "There are no coincides in Austin," Murr said. "Nate Paul was paying for these home renovations until it all got found out."

11:31 a.m. Additional documents shown to the jury indicate that Olson was given a job at one of Nate Paul's business entities to make it easier for Paxton to see her.

11:29 a.m. Murr showed the senators on the jury maps depicting Paxton's travels to Laura Olson's residence and Nate Paul's residence. Additional documents shown to the jury demonstrate how Paul set up an Uber account for Paxton under the alias "Dave P." to facilitate trips to see his mistress.

11:28 a.m. Mr. Paxton refuses to take any responsibility for abusing the esteemed office that he holds," Murr said. He said Paxton "reaped tangible benefits" for working to benefit Paul, including giving Paxton's mistress a job and renovating Paxton's home.

11:27 a.m. Murr said Paxton did not examine or cross-examine anything said by Blake Brickman, and everything he said is unrefuted. He continued to reference times when Paxton tried to silence the whistleblowers.

11:25 a.m. Murr played more clips of witness testimony that referenced documents that were "a whitewash full of lies," and how the foreclosure agreement was "for Nate Paul's benefit."

11:24 a.m. "[Paxton] followed the classic playbook of guilty: deflect, deceive, and demonize," Murr said, adding that he tried to attack the credibility of the whistleblowers when they did not do what he wanted them to do.

Texas Senate Media Services
Texas State Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

11:22 a.m. Murr showed additional clips of Penley, Maxwell, Mateer, and Bangert about how they tried to warn Paxton that he would face backlash and indictments if he continued his dealings with Nate Paul.

11:21 a.m. "Mr. Paxton allowed Nate Paul to infect the office at the highest level," Murr said, adding that Paxton asked the whistleblowers to involve themselves in his dealings with Paul.

11:19 a.m. Murr referenced Sept. 29, 2020, the date on which Mateer became aware that Cammack was representing himself as special counsel on behalf of the Attorney General's office. "They were stunned and outraged," Murr said. "They realized [Paxton] was using criminal grand jury subpoenas to aid Nate Paul."

11:17 a.m. Murr showed an additional clip of witness testimony about how Brandon Cammack was not a special prosecutor but rather a special counsel who worked to get grand jury subpoenas.

11:16 a.m. Murr showed a clip of McCarty in which he said he was "stunned" about a subpoena directed at World Class that would have benefited Nate Paul against the Mitte Foundation. McCarty used the term "lawyer ethics 101" and said that what they were being asked to do was "a big no-no."

11:14 a.m. In the clip of Maxwell, he spoke about a PowerPoint of how Paxton wanted the investigation to go and six individuals who he wanted to be targeted. Maxwell said the crimes he was being asked to commit, in his professional opinion, would be called obstruction of justice and interfering with a felony investigation.

11:12 a.m. "The entire investigation by Mr. Cammack was illegal," Murr said before playing a clip from David Maxwell's testimony in which he said that Paxton asked him to interfere in a federal investigation. Maxwell, in the clip, spoke about how Paxton had a "map of how he wanted the investigation to be done."

11:11 a.m. Murr played a clip of Margaret Moore's testimony in which she said Cammack calling himself a "special prosecutor" was "astonishingly untruthful."

11:10 a.m. Murr referenced how Paxton called Cammack a "special prosecutor" even though he was not one. He said such special prosecutors are sworn in by the DA's office. "Cammack was not sworn in and was not supervised by the Travis County District Attorney's Office," Murr said.

11:08 a.m. "Paxton alone supervised Brandom Cammack," Murr said. He referenced the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as it related to grand jury subpoenas being a prosecutorial act. He defined "attorney pro tem" and explained that they are appointed by the District Attorney's office.

11:07 a.m. Murr played an additional clip of Bangert in which he said that the AG's office would "have to go out of their way to render a vastly uncharacteristic decision," if they did what Paxton had asked.

11:05 a.m. Murr referenced witness testimony that Paxton asked that information relating to the ongoing investigation be released. He played a clip of Vassar saying that Paxton felt Paul was "being railroaded by the FBI" and that Paxton asked the whistleblowers to find a way to release information that had been requested to be withheld.

11:04 a.m. "It is not a coincidence that Nate Paul had pending lawsuits concerning the open records request and the AG's office no position opinion endorsed disclosing sealed documents," Murr said.

Texas Senate Media Services
Texas State Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

11:03 a.m. "Mr. Paxton forced his attorneys to stop foreclosure sales based on a phony claim," Murr said.

11:02 a.m. "Mr. Paxton abused his office by forcing his employees to draft the Midnight Opinion," Murr said. "He became involved in the drafting of an opinion for the first time ever."

11:01 a.m. "Instead of protecting charities, [Paxton] harmed the Mitte Foundation only to help Nate Paul," Murr said.

11:00 a.m. Murr called Paxton's involvement with Paul an "obsession."

10:59 a.m. Andrew Murr continued his closing arguments for the prosecution.

10:49 a.m. "Two words. Not guilty." Cogdell said before yielding his time.

10:48 a.m. "It was an honor to be here, I never thought I would, but this is not about me. It's not about Ken Paxton. It is about whether or not you have a reasonable doubt. I suspect he did some things you probably didn't like, I get that," Cogdell said, referencing how the burden of proof in this case is the same as that in a murder trial.

10:47 a.m. "The whole case was around this 'illegal' relationship with Mr. Paul and Mr. Wynne, who they didn't call, and my friend Ken Paxton," Cogdell said.

10:46 a.m. Cogdell referenced David Maxwell's testimony, saying "His carton of milk has expired." When speaking about Maxwell's suggestion that it was a crime to investigate the federal government, he said "We were born at night but not last night. That is dumber than a bucket of hair... That is game, set, match. I think that's the phrase, I don't play tennis."

10:45 a.m. Cogdell referenced how the House Board of Managers could have called him because he represented Paxton for years. "You know who they could have called? Me."

10:44 a.m. Cogdell said the prosecutors, whom he called "some of the best," could not put together a cogent case. He said they "did their best."

10:43 a.m. Dan Cogdell took the stand with the remaining time. He said he would proceed in a different direction than Buzbee, refusing to "yell" on the stand.

Texas Senate Media Services
Defense attorney Dan Cogdell delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

10:42 a.m. Buzbee called on the senators in the jury to have courage. He asked them to "Put this man back to work and vote not guilty."

10:41 a.m. Buzbee quoted Gabriel Garcia Marquez, saying " As my favorite author says, 'justice limps along but gets there all the same.'"

10:40 a.m. "We are here because Dade Phelan got his feelings hurt," Buzbee said. He accused Phelan of being "so drunk" and said Phelan knew "there was no evidence of an impeachment."

10:39 a.m. Buzbee listed off more allegations including misappropriation of funds and dereliction of duty, saying they too were untrue. He again referenced his own experience in the Marines, saying that being accused of dereliction of duty is "a big deal."

10:38 a.m. Buzbee listed off allegations that Paxton had burner phones and foreign emails, saying those claims are untrue and refusing to "even go into it."

10:35 a.m. When speaking of what he deemed "the most serious allegation," he said he disproved it when "young Wicker" was on the stand. Buzbee said he is "lining up a lot of lawsuits because that's absolute defamation."

10:34 a.m. Buzbee said the House Board of Managers mentioned the term bribery and Laura Olson's involvement because "it captures headlines. They want to be morally superior to people."

Texas Senate Media Services
Defense attorney Dan Cogdell delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

10:33 a.m. He directed the senators to read a report that he called "pretty darn good" as it relates to Article 7. "It has never been rebutted," Buzbee said.

10:32 a.m. Buzbee criticized the whistleblowers for calling "their new boss [Brent Webster] a joke."

10:31 a.m. "If these folks had done their job, then you wouldn't have had to spend the last two weeks of your time doing their job," Buzbee said to the senators.

10:30 a.m. "The only thing Ken Paxton ever told [Cammack] was 'seek the truth' and that's what I suggest to all of you. Seek the truth," Buzbee said to the senators on the jury.

10:28 a.m. "The only thing [Paxton] ever said was 'just find the truth'," Buzbee said of Paxton's desire to investigate the federal government. He said Penley's perspective on the investigation was "terrifying... It should terrify all of you."

10:27 a.m. "[Paxton] could not understand why his subordinates would not do their jobs," Buzbee said about the whistleblowers' refusal to take part in his investigation into the federal government.

10:25 a.m. "With all due respect, typical politician... then [they] lied about it," Buzbee said of Margaret Moore's involvement in the referrals relating to Cammack. "And they want to blame that on Ken Paxton who had no idea about it," Buzbee said. He said Cammack admitted on the stand that he filed the grand jury subpoenas without Paxton's knowledge.

10:24 a.m. Buzbee said calling Cammack a "prosecutor pro tem" in Article 5 causes the article to "crumble." "You vote on the language used in the article," he said.

10:23 a.m. Buzbee said the articles alleging the abuse of the open records process and the misuse of official information are "utter bull."

10:22 a.m. "We have to get up here and prove our innocence, how wrong is that," Buzbee said.

10:20 a.m. Buzbee said Article 2 tries to drag Senator Hughes "into this foolishness," because everyone knew it was an informal opinion. "Straw requesters are common," he said, saying that the House Board of Managers was trying "to besmirch Senator Hughes."

10:19 a.m. When speaking about the Mitte Foundation's investment, Buzbee said "Man, I wish I could get an investment like that." He called the intervention "hogwash."

AP Photo/Eric Gay
Suspended Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton, center, talks with this attorneys Tony Buzbee, left, and Mitch Little, right, before closing arguments in his impeachment trial in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Austin, Texas.

10:17 a.m. Buzbee said the first article of impeachment "fails in its language." He said the only thing Article 1 proves is that "The Mitte Foundation has major problems."

10:16 a.m. "If a lunch is a bribe then boy howdy, we've got a problem," Buzbee said, alluding to Paxton's lunches with Nate Paul.

10:15 a.m. Buzbee said if campaign donations are considered bribes, "there are going to be a lot of impeachments in Austin."

10:14 a.m. "Their entire case, a campaign donation, a bribe two years prior... complete ridiculousness when you look at all the other people Nate Paul gave money to," Buzbee said. He also referenced the number of donations Paxton received, adding "This man is a fundraiser... the people like Ken Paxton." He called the allegations of bribery "complete hogwash."

10:12 a.m. Buzbee referenced Nate Paul's anger at the AG's office, saying "That does not sound like somebody who is running the Attorney General's office," adding that there was one man who was running the office. "That man is sitting right there," Buzbee said, pointing to Paxton.

10:11 a.m. Buzbee mentioned Paul's belief that the FBI was targeting him, adding, "Do we really believe that the Department of Justice is always out to do the right thing? Or do they sometimes pick and choose?" Buzbee said "We will never know" if the search warrant for Nate Paul was altered. Nate Paul was "madder than a hornet's nest" at the Attorney General's office, Buzbee said.

10:10 a.m. When speaking about allegations of bribery, Buzbee said "You have to have quid pro quo for bribery." He then described Nate Paul as a "pain in the butt."

10:07 a.m. "They made some assumptions and then they figured out they had no evidence and they couldn't go back," Buzbee said. He mentioned how Bangert said going to the FBI was signing their "professional death warrant." Buzbee said, "Rightfully so. That's what happens when you go to the FBI without any evidence. They took a long walk off a short pier."

10:06 a.m. "Let's cook up a Bar complaint against Ken Paxton. Let's allocate $50,000 to hire [outside counsel] by the name of Johnny Sutton!" Buzbee said, referencing the whistleblowers' decision to go to law enforcement about Paxton.

10:04 a.m. Buzbee suggested that the Biden administration was involved in the impeachment proceedings, adding that Paxton "did his job... This is a situation where the tail is wagging the dog."

10:02 a.m. Buzbee talked about how Vassar cried on the stand after being called a "rogue employee." He said Vassar was "joking and laughing" at the time that he was called the name, and then came to court and cried on the stand about it. "What foolishness is this," Buzbee said. Buzbee mentioned when was a captain in the Marine Corps and how being a "rogue employee" means you don't listen to your boss.

10:00 a.m. Buzbee mentioned suggestions that Wicker delivered a package "in an alley in the middle of the night" on behalf of Nate Paul, saying this was yet another false claim.

Texas Senate Media Services
Defense attorney Tony Buzbee delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

9:59 a.m. Buzbee referenced Drew Wicker's testimony and how he heard a comment while working for Paxton and assumed that Nate Paul paid for Paxton's home repairs. "We all know that's not true... but it was in hundreds of articles across the country."

9:58 a.m. "You know what my dad used to tell me? Assumptions make an ass out of you and me," Buzbee said, referencing how he believes the trial is based on assumptions.

9:57 a.m. "The Bush era in Texas ends today," Buzbee said. "They can go back to Maine. This is Texas."

9:56 a.m. Buzbee referenced "hundreds upon hundreds of articles about how bad Ken Paxton is," adding that Paxton still won his recent election.

9:55 a.m. "What a joke," Buzbee said when asking about witness Gregg Cox. "What a joke he was... That's what their entire case has been: a joke. Much ado about nothing."

9:54 a.m. "This is a political trial," Buzbee said. "A political witch hunt. Let's call it what it is... There is no doubt that these folks did not prove a case... They didn't prove anything other than they did not like Ken Paxton."

9:53 a.m. Buzbee began addressing the burden of proof, which in this case is that Buzbee must be guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."

9:52 a.m. "They thought he would quit. The Texas Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle... they thought he would quit. He did not quit."

9:50 a.m. "Biden's policies come to die in Texas because of Attorney General Ken Paxton," Buzbee said.

9:49 a.m. "They couldn't even write the articles correctly," Buzbee said of the prosecution. He said that protecting charities is not the attorney general's job. "When the House Board of Managers brought these charges, they assumed he would quit, they assumed he would run and hide, they assumed he would resign."

9:48 a.m. Buzbee said that Mateer "crumbled under oath." This case is "about nothing," Buzbee said. He said the prosecutors failed to gather evidence, review their evidence, or talk to witnesses. He mentioned how the prosecution failed to call Brent Webster as a witness because "he puts to bed all of their foolishness and silliness."

9:47 a.m. "There is shame here, and the shame sits right there," Buzbee said, speaking to the House Board of Managers who brought the charges "without evidence," he said. "I am proud to represent Ken Paxton, and if this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone."

9:46 a.m. Defense attorney Tony Buzbee began his closing argument.

Texas Senate Media Services
Defense attorney Tony Buzbee delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

9:45 a.m. Murr yielded the rest of his time to the defense. They have 50 minutes and 35 seconds remaining.

9:44 a.m. "As the state's top cop, misconduct was and is inexcusable." Murr said. "He may claim to be one of us, but unlike the public servants here today, he has no regard for the principles of honor or integrity," Murr said.

9:42 a.m. Murr spoke about Paxton hiring Cammack, saying that "[Paxton] knew best." "His claims are divorced from reality." He referenced previous testimony, saying "There are no coincidences in Austin," meaning that Paxton's dealings with Paul were no mere coincidence.

9:41 a.m. When speaking about Paxton's legal team, Murr said, "They even want you to believe that filing a grand jury subpoena is not a big deal. This suggestion is absurd."

9:39 a.m. Murr played a clip from former Texas Ranger David Maxwell criticizing Paxton. Murr referenced Paxton's distrust of law enforcement, saying it did not excuse his behavior in office.

9:37 a.m. After playing a clip of Mateer's concerns about Paxton, Murr talked about how Paxton and Mateer together built a strong, conservative office that adhered to the rule of law and rule of governance. He talked about how Paxton's obligations to Nate Paul tore the office apart. "It metastasized," Murr said, and led Paxton to betray his office and his constituents. "He gave the keys to the office," Murr said, adding that Paxton acted as Paul's personal attorney.

9:36 a.m. Murr began his closing arguments with references to the constitution and the charge laid forth to police their own, meaning the obligation to keep politicians in check. He said despite the number of people who voted for Paxton, Paxton ended up serving only one person.

Texas Senate Media Services
Texas State Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) delivers closing arguments in suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

9:35 a.m. Each side will get an hour for closing arguments. State Rep. Andrew Murr began closing arguments for the House Board of Managers.

9:23 a.m. Patrick read out the 16 articles of impeachment. When the Senate adopted its rules for the trial, the senators elected to hear evidence on 16 of the 20 articles brought fourth, holding four in abeyance that were related to 2015 criminal charges against Paxton.

  • ARTICLE 1 - Protection of charitable organization
    Paxton is accused of failing to act as a public protector of charitable organizations by directing his employees in the attorney general's office to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the Roy F. & JoAnn Cole Mitte Foundation against entities controlled by Paul, harming the Austin charity in an effort to benefit the wealthy donor.
  • ARTICLE 2 - Abuse of the opinion process
    Paxton is accused of misusing his official power to issue written legal opinions. He allegedly had employees prepare an opinion that protected some of Paul’s properties from being sold in foreclosure. Paxton concealed his actions by asking a Senate committee chairperson to seek that opinion. He’s also accused of directing employees to reverse their legal conclusion to help Paul.
  • ARTICLE 3 - Abuse of the open records process
    Paxton is accused of misusing his official power by allegedly interfering with his office's handling of a public records request dealing with the files of a criminal investigation into Paul.
  • ARTICLE 4 - Misuse of official information
    Paxton is accused of misusing his power to administer public information law by improperly obtaining previously undisclosed information held by the attorney general's office to benefit Paul.
  • ARTICLE 5 - Engagement of Cammack
    Paxton is accused of misusing official powers by hiring attorney Brandon Cammack to investigate a baseless complaint made by Paul. That led to Cammack issuing more than 30 grand jury subpoenas in an effort to help Paul.
  • ARTICLE 6 - Termination of whistleblowers
    Paxton is accused of violating the state’s whistleblower law by retaliating against employees who reported his alleged unlawful acts to law enforcement, terminating them without good cause or due process. He’s also accused of engaging in a public and private campaign to impugn those employees’ professional reputations or prejudice their future employment.
  • ARTICLE 7 - Whistleblower investigation and report
    Paxton is accused of misusing public resources by directing employees to conduct a sham investigation into terminated employees' whistleblower complaints and publish a report containing false or misleading statements in Paxton’s defense.
  • ARTICLE 8 - Settlement Agreement
    Paxton is accused of misusing his official powers by concealing his wrongful acts in connection with the whistleblower’s complaints by entering into a settlement with the whistleblowers that provides for payment from public funds. The settlement halted the wrongful termination suit and delayed the discovery of facts and testimony at trial, to Paxton’s advantage. That allegedly prevented voters from making an informed decision about his reelection in 2022.
  • ARTICLE 9 - Paul’s employment of a woman with whom Paxton has acknowledged having an affair
    It is alleged that Paxton benefited from Paul's decision to hire the woman. In exchange, Paul allegedly received favorable legal assistance from, or specialized access to, the attorney general's office.
  • ARTICLE 10 - Paul’s providing renovations to Paxton home
    It is alleged that in exchange for providing the renovations, Paul received favorable legal assistance from, or specialized access to, the attorney general’s office.
  • ARTICLE 15 - Whistleblower response report
    It is alleged that Paxton made or caused multiple false or misleading statements in the lengthy written report issued by his office in response to whistleblower allegations.
  • ARTICLE 16 - Conspiracy and attempted conspiracy
    Paxton is accused of conspiring or attempting to conspire with others to commit acts described in one or more articles.
  • ARTICLE 17 - Misappropriation of public resources
    Paxton is accused of misusing his official powers by causing employees to perform services for his benefit and the benefit of others.
  • ARTICLE 18 - Dereliction of duty
    Paxton is accused of violating the Texas Constitution, his oaths of office, statutes and public policy against public officials acting contrary to the public interest by engaging in acts described in one or more articles.
  • ARTICLE 19 - Unfitness for office
    Paxton is accused of engaging in misconduct, private or public, of such character as to indicate his unfitness for office, as shown by the acts described in one or more articles.
  • ARTICLE 20 - Abuse of public trust
    Paxton is accused of using, misusing or failing to use official powers to subvert the lawful operation of the state government and obstruct the fair and impartial administration of justice, bringing the attorney general's office into scandal and eroding public confidence in state government, as shown by the acts described in one or more articles.

9:21 a.m. "For the public, understand this is like 16 trials in one." Patrick said, explaining this is not a normal trial. The senators that make up the jury do not need to come to a unanimous decision. The senators are allowed to sleep outside the Capitol but should not have communication with anyone during deliberations.

9:20 a.m. "The Attorney General is presumed innocent until proven otherwise," Patrick said. Deliberations will begin today and will continue "as long as it takes."

9:19 a.m. After the jury has deliberated, Patrick will notify the media of a given time when the verdict will be handed down. "They will be given ample time," Patrick said. "At least 30 minutes."

9:17 a.m. According to the rules, Angela Paxton cannot vote. Only one of the articles of impeachment out of the 16 is required for Paxton to be impeached. "Impeachment is not divisible," Patrick explained.

Texas Senate Media Services
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, presiding judge in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial, gives instructions to the jury of senators on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. in Austin, Texas.

9:16 a.m. Patrick explained the rules for Friday so "the public understands everything we do." The rules were written and voted on by the members of the court which "set out the framework for what has happened and is about to happen."

9:14 a.m. Patrick began court Friday by addressing those watching from the courtroom and online. He thanked those involved in those proceedings and explained that despite his lack of legal background, he said "[they] have done the best they can. Patrick mentioned that he "even went to a bit of judge boot camp."

9:12 a.m. Court began with a prayer led by Sen. Carol Alvarado from District 6.

9:11 a.m. The jury was called to enter.

9:10 a.m. The Senate was called to session and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick entered the chamber.


The Republican-led Texas House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in May to impeach the attorney general, largely based on his former deputies' claims that he used his power to help a wealthy donor who reciprocated with favors including hiring a woman with whom Paxton had an extramarital affair. The 20 articles of impeachment brought forth by the Texas House include allegations of abuse of public trust, unfitness for office and bribery. The Texas Senate is holding four of the articles in abeyance because they are largely related to the 2015 criminal charges where Paxton has been accused of felony securities fraud. Paxton has pleaded not guilty in that case but so far there has been no trial.

If convicted in the impeachment, Paxton would be removed as attorney general and could be barred from holding future elected office in the state.

Joining us now with more perspective on what happened Friday during the Paxton trial is Republican Strategist Vinny Minchillo.


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NBC 5 and the Associated Press
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