Ken Paxton

Impeachment Trial Day 7: House rests in Paxton impeachment, motion to end trial withdrawn

Defense to begin presenting their case Thursday after withdrawing a motion for directed verdict

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The House Board of Managers rested their case in the impeachment trial for suspended Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday afternoon and the defense will begin presenting their case Thursday morning.

Prosecutors started the day by calling Laura Olson, Paxton's alleged mistress, but because she wasn't added to the witness list until 3:53 p.m. Tuesday she wasn't eligible to take the stand until 24 hours later.

Shortly before 4 p.m., Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting as the trial’s judge, said Olson was present but was "deemed unavailable to testify.” Patrick said both sides had agreed to that description in writing. He provided no further explanation and it was not clear whether Olson might testify on another day.

The trial continued with prosecutor Rusty Hardin continuing to question whistleblower James Brickman for another half hour. When he wrapped up, Hardin said the House rested.

Defense attorney Tony Buzbee noted Hardin rested before allowing him time to cross-examine the witness but accepted the rest and said he would recall the witness if he needed to. Buzbee then said he had filed a motion seeking to end the trial. Buzbee's Motion for a Directed Verdict required the jury of senators to vote on the "sufficiency of the evidence" and if the majority of eligible members present (16) agreed then the motion would pass. If the motion failed to get a majority vote then it will be denied.

Prosecutors said they had a motion responding to Buzbee's, but it was not immediately clear what they were seeking.

About an hour later, Patrick gaveled court back into session and said both motions had been withdrawn and the defense would call their first witness. The attorneys had one more issue to settle and approached the bench, leading to an elongated discussion that prompted Patrick to adjourn for the day.

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Attorneys huddle around Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.


Paxton's affair is central to the historic proceedings and accusations that Paxton misused his power to help a local real estate developer who was under FBI investigation and employed Laura Olson.

Olson’s testimony would have been the first time the public heard her account of her relationship with Texas’ top law enforcement officer and his dealings with Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, who was indicted in June on charges of making false statements to banks. Paul has pleaded not guilty.

Former staff have testified that Ken Paxton admitted to them that he had an affair, but the attorney general has not discussed it publicly.

Olson had been set to take the stand across from Paxton’s wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, who is required to attend the trial but is not allowed to vote on whether her husband should be removed from office. On Monday, she listened from her desk in the Senate as one of her husband's former employees testified that the secret relationship took a toll on the attorney general's office.

When they couldn't call Olson first on Wednesday, the House Board of Managers pivoted and called Ray Chester, an attorney for the Mitte Foundation. After some relatively quick direct and redirect, Paxton's former executive aide Andrew Wicker was called to testify.

Wicker described Paxton as a friend and said they bonded over watching football, talking about politics and “talking life.” Wicker says he met Paul three times, including once to deliver him a manila envelope and another to pick up Paxton's phone that he had left at Paul's house.

Wicker said he hired his own lawyer after being contacted in 2020 by the FBI. Wicker says the Paxton's office offered him an attorney and said they would not like him to speak to the FBI.

So far, seven of the eight whistleblowers have testified in the trial with Blake Brickman being called to the stand Wednesday afternoon. Of the eight whistleblowers, only Lacey Mase was not called as a House witness.

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The whistleblowers are a group of former high-level staffers in Paxton's office who notified the FBI that they believed their boss was breaking the law in helping Austin developer Nate Paul. Paul claimed that he was a victim of illegal behavior by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with improper warrants served in a search of his home and business and allegedly asked for help from the AG's office.

Four of the whistleblowers filed a lawsuit over retaliation in November 2020 arguing Paxton violated the Texas Whistleblower Act. In early 2023, it was announced there had been a settlement reached in the lawsuit worth $3.3 million.

Paxton has been absent from the trial since pleading not guilty last Tuesday, but his wife Angela Paxton, a state senator, has been present though she is forbidden from voting on a decision. The rest of the Texas Senate will decide the case when all of the witnesses are heard.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick serves as a judge for the trial and said Monday that he thought deliberations could begin as soon as Thursday. Patrick said they would not take a day off until they have a final resolution on the verdict.

Lawyers on both sides are getting close to wrapping up their case in Paxton's impeachment trial.


6:37 p.m., Patrick says due to an elongated discussion at the bench they would adjourn for the day and would resume the hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday.

6:24 p.m., Both sides asked to approach the bench before proceeding.

6:24 p.m., The defense called Michael Gerhardt.

6:24 p.m., Patrick said after consultation with the jurors and both parties, both motions have been withdrawn and the defense will call their first witness.

5:29 p.m., Buzbee called for a Motion for a Directed Verdict to poll the jury of senators for a vote to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. Under the rules, it takes a majority of members present (16 eligible). If the motion fails to get a majority vote then it will be denied. Prosecutors said they had a motion responding to Buzbee's, but it was not immediately clear what they were seeking.

5:24 p.m., Rusty Hardin passed the witness and said the House rests. Buzbee noted Hardin rested before allowing him time to cross-examine the witness. Buzbee said he accepted the rest and would recall the witness if he needed to.

5:20 p.m., Dan Patrick took several minutes to review the document and said that because the document contains "double hearsay" he is reversing his ruling and the objection was sustained.

5:14 p.m., Hardin and Buzbee debate whether a 100-page document can be admitted into evidence. Buzbee said it's written by a lawyer appointed as a receiver and it's full of his unqualified opinion and that he hasn't been provided time to go through the document because it was added to the evidence list Tuesday.

5:06 p.m., On July 4, 2020, Brickman testified Nate Paul asked Kevin Wood to send him photos of the work they were doing. On the same day, Wood sends Paul the photos.

Texas Senate Media Service
Whistleblower James Brickman testifies on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment hearing in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

5:05 p.m. Brickman discusses an email from Kevin Wood to Nate Paul on June 20, 2020, that was forwarded to Raj Kumar on June 22, 2020. Brickman testifies the messages back and forth were about Paxton's house.

5:02 p.m., Brickman reads texts on July 4, 2020, between Kevin Wood and Nate Paul talking about the work being done on a remodel job.

4:59 p.m., Buzbee objects and questions if the email is about Paxton's house. He said the man is working multiple job sites and the email doesn't say which client he's referring to. The objection was sustained.

4:58 p.m., Brickman said Raj Kumar's company is Cupertino Builders. He reads from emails to Nate Paul discussing work being done in a home remodel.

4:55 p.m., Brickman is asked about Paxton's renovations and when he moved back into his house and he said around July 18 or July 19.

4:52 p.m., Patrick resumed the hearing. He said the House Board of Managers called Laura Olson and that she was present in the building, "but has been deemed unavailable to testify." Patrick did not elaborate other than to say both sides agreed to the designation of Olson.

3:56 p.m., Patrick is conducting a hearing outside the presence of the jury and the court is in recess.

3:43 p.m., Brickman said one month before the foreclosure opinion came out, saying foreclosures could not be held outdoors, Paxton held an outdoor fundraiser in Dallas.

3:36 p.m., Brickman said the settlement with his conditions is still pending approval in the Texas House.

3:33 p.m., Brickman said he never attended a mediation hearing for the settlement.

Texas Senate Media Service
Whistleblower James Brickman testifies on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment hearing in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

3:30 p.m., Of the lawsuit filed against the state, Brickman described the three conditions under which he'd settle as Ken Paxton apologizes for calling them "rogue employees" and admits they did what they thought was right, that the whistleblower law applied and he must agree not to dismiss that. The final condition was that Paxton remove a disparaging statement calling them rogue employees from the OAG website.

3:14 p.m., Brickman said he did not resign after going to the FBI. He described Oct. 5 as the day he met Brent Webster, who replaced Jeff Mateer. During a previously scheduled meeting, Brickman said Webster ordered him out of the meeting. Brickman said Webster later came to his office with a woman who was armed and instructed him to have a conversation with him. He said he was later terminated, on Oct. 20, 2020, and that it was an extremely hostile work environment.

3:13 p.m., Brickman said after they went to the FBI on Sept. 30 that they tried to meet with Paxton but he was unavailable.

3:11 p.m., Brickman talked about going to the FBI. He refuted claims they took no evidence.

"There were seven of the most senior staffers at the office of the attorney general, we went together," Brickman said. "We took firsthand personal knowledge of Ken Paxton's illegal, immoral and unethical conduct to federal law enforcement officers."

Brickman shared their accounts of Paxton's conduct, which prosecutor Rusty Hardin said is akin to an eye-witness account of a robbery. It doesn't take documentation to be classified as evidence.

3:06 p.m., Brickman showed a book given to him by Paxton in front of the office. The book was inscribed by Paxton saying he was glad he'd joined the office. He said the book was an award for encouraging Paxton to use his platform to talk about Shelley Luther, a Collin County business owner who had been jailed for opening her business during the pandemic lockdown.

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Whistleblower James Blake Brickman testifies in the Ken Paxton impeachment trial, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

3:04 p.m., By September 2020, Brickman said he'd become familiar with the name Nate Paul. By Sept. 29, Brickman said he was concerned with Paxton's conduct. "My office was about five feet away from Attorney General Ken Paxton's office and what I saw over the course of those three, four, five months [in] the summer of 2020, I was very concerned that Mr. Paxton was breaking the law."

3:03 p.m., Brickman said Wicker came to him and reported a concern about Paxton meeting privately with Nate Paul without his security detail present and without the meetings being on his official calendar.

3:01 p.m., Brickman read a message from Paxton in January 2020 welcoming him to the OAG.

2:59 p.m., The House Board of Managers called whistleblower James Blake Brickman.

2:55 p.m., Epley asked if the conversation with Weekley was something that would have to be delivered by hand to Nate Paul and Wicker said, "No." When she asked for details about the conversation, he said it was related to fundraising. Epley asked Wicker if the story told by Buzbee had anything to do with the envelope and he objected. She then asked Wicker if he ever needed to deliver an invitation from Dick Weekley to Nate Paul and he said, "No."

On recross, Buzbee asked, "The truth is you don't know what you delivered. Do you?" Wicker replied, "That is correct."

2:54 p.m., Buzbee passed the witness and Epley began redirect.

2:52 p.m., Buzbee asked Wicker if he'd ever exchanged texts with Nate Paul and he said he didn't recall any. Buzbee showed Wicker documents alleging they texted in June 2020 before delivering the envelope. Wicker agreed the messages were about Dick Weekley.

2:51 p.m., Buzbee asked Wicker about something he delivered to Nate Paul in a manila envelope in the summer. He said he didn't know what was inside.

Texas Senate Media Service
Defense attorney Tony Buzbee cross-examines witness Andrew Wicker on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

2:50 p.m., Buzbee asked Wicker if he ever heard Ken Paxton say if he was going to do anything for Nate Paul and he said he never said he would take any action on his behalf.

2:47 p.m., During the meeting with Nate Paul, Buzbee asked if the envelope had a CD on the exterior and he said he didn't. Wicker said he never met Paul in the dark of night in an alleyway.

2:46 p.m., Buzbee asks if during his meeting with the House prior to the start of the trial if prosecutors ever showed him the documents he's presented showing the Paxtons paid for their renovations with a wire transfer.

2:44 p.m., Buzbee references a document and asked Wicker to read when the general instructed his trustee to pay for the renovations and he said Sept. 30, 2020.

2:43 p.m., Buzbee references a text sent by the whistleblowers on Oct. 1 saying they went to the FBI.

2:43 p.m., Buzbee begins recross.

2:27 p.m., Sidebar discussion.

2:26 p.m., Epley passes the witness.

2:21 p.m., Epley presents invoice and payment information and other records showing the recipient of the $121,617 payment was Cupertino Builders, LLC.

"Now, Mr. Wicker, in all of the records before you. If there had been payments, or estimates, or supplies, or timelines or communication in regard to payment in any way, in regards to Ken Paxton and Cupertino, don't you think Mr. Buzbee would have pointed it out?" Epley asked.

Buzbee objected and it was sustained.

Epley then asked Wicker to read the date on Cupertino's invoice and he said it was Oct. 1, 2020.

Texas Senate Media Service
Attorney Erin Epley questions witness Andrew Wicker on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

"After the whistleblowers, after he knows you're aware of the renovations, after a cease and desist, after directing payment, only after all of those things does he get the first piece of documentation that would in any way credit that it was valid," Epley said.

Buzbee again objected, leading, and it was sustained.

2:20 p.m., Epley asked Wicker if he knew where Paxton was on Oct. 1 and he said he did not. She read from a document in evidence where Wicker was to tell anyone who asked that he didn't know where Paxton was.

2:17 p.m., Epley noted Brandon Cammack saying there was a problem and that the payment in full from the blind trust both occurred on Sept. 30, 2020.

2:13 p.m., Epley asked if he knew when the Paxtons moved back into their home and he thought it was in mid-July.

2:11 p.m., Epley asked how many times Wicker heard Wood say, "I have to check with Nate" and he said three times in one conversation.

2:10 p.m., Epley asked what was the more relevant part of the conversation with Kevin Wood, the renovations, which is only known about because of Wicker's statement, or the state of the countertops. Buzbee objected because he thought it was up to the court to determine relevance.

2:08 p.m., Buzbee passed the witness and Erin Epley began redirect.

2:07 p.m., Buzbee asks Wicker if he had any information about Laura Olson and he said he had only seen her exit an elevator with the attorney general.

2:05 p.m., Buzbee asks Wicker if he sees a different banking account where the wired funds arrived. Wicker said it didn't say it was from the Paxtons but the amounts matched.

Texas Senate Media Services
Defense attorney Tony Buzbee, seated left, objects during testimony by Drew Wicker on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

2:02 p.m., Buzbee shows a text message where Paxton instructs a trustee to pay the invoice in full.

1:57 p.m., Buzbee begins talking about an invoice for the renovations to the Paxton home. The invoice totaled $121,817.

1:50 p.m., Buzbee entered a photo into evidence taken at the Paxton's Austin home in August 2023. Wicker agreed that it appeared from the photograph that the cabinets and countertops hadn't changed.

1:46 p.m., Buzbee mentions an email from Kevin Wood with pictures of the kitchen. Buzbee said it showed what the kitchen looked like in July 2020 and that's how the house looked when Wicker was there with Wood and Paxton.

1:43 p.m., Buzbee asks Wicker about a conversation he heard about renovations between Kevin Wood and Ken Paxton. The conversation was around Angela Paxton wanting granite countertops. Buzbee said they do not have granite countertops.

1:41 p.m., Patrick brought the hearing back in session and Wicker was called back to the stand.

12:05 p.m. Court is in recess for lunch.

11:50 a.m. Prosecution objects to the use of several documents and lines of questioning. After several minutes of arguing, the attorneys from the prosecution and the defense approach the bench to speak to Patrick.

11:49 a.m. Buzbee mentioned a second contractor in Paxton's renovations other than Wood. Wicker said he was not aware of a second contractor.

11:45 a.m. Buzbee asked Wicker if he knew whether the counters in Paxton's home had ever changed and showed him a photo of the counters. Wicker said he could not confirm that.

11:40 a.m. Wicker said it was correct that he "had no knowledge that Nate Paul ever did anything for Ken Paxton other than buy a lunch." He said he had no idea about who paid for the home renovations. Wicker confirmed that the conversation he overheard raised concerns, but he never saw receipts or bills related to the renovations. He never went with Paxton to a hardware store or to price materials for the renovations. He also described Paxton as "frugal."

Texas Senate Media Services
Witness Andrew Wicker testifies on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

11:39 a.m. Buzbee asked if Paxton had a ProtonMail account because Paxton was traveling to China. Wicker said that was true. Wicker also said that other people in the office had similar email accounts.

11:37 a.m. Buzbee asked Wicker if he felt like Paxton was "family." Wicker confirmed that he did. He said he viewed Ken and Angela as family members, and that he spent more time with Paxton than anyone. Wicker also said he was not accusing Paxton of bribery.

11:36 a.m. Wicker confirmed that his lunches with Paxton and Paul were always in a public place "where anyone could see them."

11:35 a.m. Wicker explained that he was paid via direct deposit while working for Paxton. He said it was possible someone might have forgotten to turn off his direct deposit when he resigned.

11:34 a.m. Defense attorney Tony Buzbee began questioning Wicker.

11:33 a.m. Court resume. Prosecution motions to reconsider and amend Senate Rules 27 and 38. The motion will be discussed tomorrow.

10:55 a.m. Court is in recess until 11:15 a.m.

10:54 a.m. The prosecution passed the witness to the defense for cross-examination.

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Attorney Erin Epley on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

10:53 a.m. Wicker ultimately resigned on Nov. 2, 2020. He stopped receiving paychecks after he left, but he continued receiving a stipend from Paxton's campaign. He reached out to the Attorney General's office about the continued payments and asked if Paxton wanted the money back. Paxton said for Wicker to keep the money, and Wicker donated the money back to Paxton's campaign anyway. "Because I did not do the work," he said.

10:50 a.m. Wicker said he chose to retain his own counsel who would act in his own best interest. Wicker said he did not accept the promotion because he did not want it to look like Paxton had given him anything in light of the FBI investigation.

10:46 a.m. Towards the end of his career, Wicker was offered a promotion. When the FBI investigation into Paxton began, Wicker said the FBI reached out to him. Wicker met with Brent Webster who told Wicker not to meet with the FBI so as to not risk incriminating himself. He also met with Paxton who told him something similar.

10:43 a.m. Wicker said he was asked to transcribe a typed document as a letter to the Office of the Inspector General. Epley asked if Wicker knew why he was asked to retype an already typed document. Wicker said he did not. Wicker said when he was done with the letter, Paxton asked him to bring his state laptop to Paxton's Austin home so Paxton could edit the letter. Wicker said he did not know if Paxton changed the letter or if it was ever sent.

10:42 a.m. Wicker said at one point Paxton asked to use Wicker's phone. When the phone was returned to Wicker, the call log had been wiped.

10:40 a.m. Wicker said Paxton had a ProtonMail email account that was set up through the attorney general's office. Epley asked if Wicker knew ProtonMail was based outside of the country and therefore not susceptible to a search warrant. Wicker said he did.

10:39 a.m. Wicker testified that Paxton had two primary phones as well as two "extra" phones. The two "extra" phones were described as a Samsung Galaxy Fold and a red iPhone.

10:37 a.m. Wicker said that in 2020, he believed Penley to be an individual "of the utmost integrity." Epley began asking about Mateer, but the defense objected. Lt. Gov. Patrick sustained the objection.

10:34 a.m. Wicker said he spoke with Rylander and Brickman after overhearing the conversation about the renovations. Wicker said he then spoke to Paxton, saying that he was concerned that there was an "inappropriate relationship" between Paxton and Paul.

Texas Senate Media Services
Witness Andrew Wicker testifies on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

10:30 a.m. Wicker said Wood was the lead contractor on the renovations on Paxton's home. Wicker recalled hearing something relating to Paxton's countertops that concerned him. He said he heard Wood saying that he "would need to check with Nate [Paul]" about the cost of countertops and renovations to the cabinetry. Wicker said Wood seemed to know that the cost would be $20,000, to which Paxton replied that he wanted to move forward with the renovations. Wood then said that he would check with Paul, Wicker said.

10:28 a.m. Epley introduced an email relating to home renovations at the Paxton family's home. The email was from Kevin Wood, but Nate Paul is copied on the email. Wicker confirmed that the photos in the email were of Paxton's dining room.

10:25 a.m. Wicker testified that Paxton's home renovations were necessary because there was water damage to the master bedroom. He recalled being copied on an invoice relating to Paxton's renovations on one occasion.

10:23 a.m. After being shown a photo of Laura Olson, Wicker said he recognized her. He said she was the woman who stepped off the elevator with Paxton.

10:21 a.m. Wicker recalled seeing Paxton and another woman coming out of the elevator at the Omni Hotel while staying there with his family. He said Paxton and the woman were having a "lively" conversation, but when the elevator doors opened, the woman left quickly.

10:19 a.m. Wicker said he was in charge of managing Paxton's calendar, and at one point Paxton's coming and goings were concerning enough to Wicker that he brought it up to a supervisor, Blake Brickman.

10:17 a.m. Epley mentioned Paxton's stays at the Omni Hotel during the summer of 2020. Wicker said he recalled staying there while Paxton's home was being renovated, and that Paxton dropped his security detail while staying there. Wicker said while the security detail was not around, he drove Paxton to and from the hotel.

10:15 a.m. Wicker said he heard a conversation between Paxton and Bangert about the foreclosure opinion. He said Paxton mentioned that a third party was not being helpful and that Paxton "did not want grandmothers to be evicted from their homes."

10:12 a.m. Wicker testified about meeting with attorneys for the state after receiving a subpoena in May 2023. He said he did not initially want to attend, and that he brought his attorney. He said though he was honest to the best of his ability, he was not initially willing and forthcoming when speaking to the attorneys.

Texas Senate Media Services
Attorney Erin Epley on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

10:11 a.m. Wicker said he transported items between Paxton and Paul on multiple occasions, including a manila folder and Paxton's cell phone that he left at Paul's office.

10:09 a.m. Testimony resumed. Wicker recalled bringing a file containing a CD from Ryan Vassar to Ken Paxton, which Paxton kept for a week before returning it to Wicker. Wicker then gave the file back to Vassar.

10:07 a.m. Lt. Gov. Patrick stopped the trial clock. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense approached the bench to speak with Patrick.

10:05 a.m. Objections continued relating to hearsay and whether to consider Nate Paul a "coconspirator" for the purpose of questioning witnesses.

10:03 a.m. After being shown a photo of Nate Paul, Wicker confirmed that it was Paul at all of the lunches.

10:00 a.m. Epley moved to add certified State of Texas documents to the record. Defense attorney Tony Buzbee raised an issue with the page count, asserting that the document is untrustworthy. Epley said that Buzbee was "intellectually dishonest" to assert that the document is not what it seems because it is a certified state document.

9:57 a.m. Testimony continues. Wicker said he was aware of lunches between Nate Paul and Ken Paxton, several of which he was seated at the same restaurant but not with Paul and Paxton. Wicker said this occurred "a dozen or dozen a half times." Wicker said he went with Paxton to meet at Paul's place of business at least "half a dozen" times.

9:50 a.m. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense approached the bench to speak with Patrick.

Texas Senate Media Services
Attorney Erin Epley, foreground, questions witness Andrew Wicker on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

9:49 a.m. Wicker spoke about a third lunch with Paul and Paxton in June or July of 2020. Wicker said the topic of conversation was the FBI raid on Paul's residence.

9:47 a.m. Wicker recalled a second lunch with Paxton and Paul as well as Ryan Bangert at Polvos in Austin. He said the topic of the lunch was the Mitte Foundation. He said Paul paid for lunch, and that the interactions between Paul and Paxton were friendly. Wicker said Bangert's demeanor was "inquisitive.

9:46 a.m. Wicker said he witnessed a "cordial relationship" between Paxton and Paul, and that Paxton did not seem to be under pressure.

9:44 a.m. Wicker said he had heard of Nate Paul. Wicker said he first met Nate Paul at a lunch at Terry Black's Barbecue.

9:43 a.m. Wicker testified about his relationship with Ken and Angela Paxton. He said he felt Paxton was a friend and they they bonded over talking about football, politics, and life. He said Angela was loving to him and sometimes acted in a role as a mother to him. He said as a couple, the Paxtons were welcoming.

9:40 a.m. Through Wicker's connection with Paxton's communications director Marc Rylander, he was able to get the job as the executive aide to the AG.

9:38 a.m. Wicker explained his background. He grew up in Prosper, attended high school at Prestonwood Christian Academy, attended SMU for undergrad, and then went to Georgetown to get his master's. He worked for Don Huffines while in college and went on to found the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at SMU. His employment with the AG's office started in 2019.

9:35 a.m. Chester is released. Andrew Wicker is called to testify. Wicker was Paxton's former executive aide.

Texas Senate Media Services
Defense attorney Mitch Little questions witness Ray Chester on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

9:33 a.m. Chester said that in the two months before the bankruptcy filing, the AG's office was "trying to force" the Mitte Foundation to settle. Chester said the AG's office was "pressuring" them.

9:29 a.m. When asked if the AG's office fought for Nate Paul in the sanctions hearing, Chester said "Not in this hearing."

9:27 a.m. Little shows a transcript from Chester's motion for sanctions to the court. The transcript was admitted into evidence. The document is 433 pages.

9:25 a.m. Chester said Nate Paul filed an AAA (American Arbitration Association) claim against the Mitte Foundation. After being asked by Little about why he failed to notify the Attorney General's office, Chester said he notified the office late because he did not know he was required to.

9:23 a.m. Little asked Chester about a former employee who was fired for a domestic assault incident. Chester said he did not know the details of the incident, but they terminated the employee as a result.

Texas Senate Media Services
Attorney Erin Epley, right, questions witness Ray Chester, an attorney for the Mitte Foundation, during Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

9:22 a.m. The Mitte Foundation made a total of six investments with Nate Paul. Three were profitable, Nate Paul "tried to swindle" the foundation on the fourth, and two additional investments are still pending.

9:20 a.m. Chester said the Mitte Foundation invested $3 million with Nate Paul. Chester said he had seen a charitable organization invest with a private real estate entity.

9:19 a.m. The Prosecution passed the witness to the defense for cross-examination. Mitch Little began questioning the Chester.

9:17 a.m. Chester said the amount the foundation will receive at the end of the litigation is approximately $17 million than they would have made if they continued with their dealings with Nate Paul and the attorney general's office.

9:15 a.m. Epley asked Chester about issues relating to the Mitte Foundation and when those issues were resolved. Mitte said the foundation is poised to wrap up the litigation and is set to receive $23 million from the sale of the property without the involvement of Nate Paul.

Texas Senate Media Services
Witness Ray Chester testifies on Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

9:14 a.m. Chester explains what the Mitte Foundation is. The foundation is mainly based out of Brownsville. It was started by Roy F. Mitte and "focuses on areas of education, youth development, aging, and disability services."

9:13 a.m. Prosecutor Erin Epley begins questioning Ray Chester, an attorney for the Mitte Foundation.

9:06 a.m. Attorneys for the prosecution and defense approached the bench to speak with Patrick. Patrick said Olson was not given 24-hour notice before being called to testify, so she is not eligible to be called as a witness until Wednesday afternoon.

9:05 a.m. Witness Laura Olson was called to testify. Paxton allegedly engaged in an extramarital affair with Olson.

Texas Senate Media Services
Attorneys gather around Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during Day 7 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.

9:02 a.m. Court began with a prayer led by Sen. Pete Flores from District 24.

9:00 a.m. The Senate was called to session and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick entered the chamber. The jury was then called to enter.


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.


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