Texas Attorney General’s Impeachment Trial Begins

Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton makes a statement at his office in Austin, Texas,
AP File Photo/Eric Gay

The Texas Senate impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Warren Kenneth Paxton, Jr. begins on Tuesday, September 5. Paxton, a former Texas state senator, faces sixteen articles of impeachment. Paxton must enter a guilty or not guilty plea to each article brought against him.

Paxton faces trial in the modified Senate chamber of the Texas Capitol for abuse of public trust and bribery as expressed in the 20 Articles of Impeachment passed by a vote of 121-23. The bipartisan votes for impeachment came from 60 Republican legislators and 61 Democrats. Only 23 Republican legislators voted against the impeachment. Under the Texas Constitution, Paxton was suspended immediately from his position as Attorney General of Texas.

The impeachment trial begins at 9 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, and proceedings can be watched via livestream on the Texas Senate’s website.

Paxton’s wife, State Senator Angela Paxton, is required by the Texas Constitution to be present in the Senate Chamber during the trial. Rule 31 of the adopted resolution requires her attendance during the trial but states she will not be allowed to vote or participate in deliberations because she is considered to have a conflict as the spouse of the impeached AG, Breitbart Texas reported.

If two-thirds of the state senators vote for conviction for any article of impeachment, Paxton will immediately be removed from office. The Texas House trial managers can then ask the Senate to vote on whether Paxton will be forever barred from ever holding office in the state.

The Texas House General Investigating Committee started the process on May 25 with a unanimous vote for 20 articles of impeachment. As reported by Breitbart Texas, the House committee charged Paxton with bribery, obstruction of justice, disregard of official duty, misuse of public resources, abuse of the judicial process, making false statements in official records in response to whistleblower’s claims, conspiracy and attempted conspiracy, misappropriating public resources, acting contrary to the public interest, unfitness of office, dereliction of duty and abuse of the public trust. 

Under the Senate rules, the four articles of impeachment (articles 11-14) relating to the 2015 criminal charges Paxton faces regarding private business deals in 2011 and 2012 will be held in abeyance. Senators must vote on each of the remaining 16 articles individually.

Many of the articles of impeachment relate to Paxton’s alleged dealings with Austin real estate developer Natin “Nate” Paul. FBI agents arrested Paul in June on charges of false statements to financial institutions and understating the value of his bank accounts and other assets.

Documents released last week will attempt to prove under Impeachment Article 10 that Paxton received bribes from Paul by allowing the real estate developer to remodel Paxton’s Austin home. Paxton’s lawyers claim they have proof that Paxton paid for the renovations, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Additionally, Paxton allegedly obtained employment with Paul’s real estate development company for Laura Olson at the rate of $65,000 per year. The Dallas newspaper reported that Paxton allegedly has been in an extramarital affair with Olson. In exchange, Impeachment Article 9 states that “Paul received favorable legal assistance from, or specialized access to, the office of the attorney general.”

These two items allegedly constitute bribery, violating Section 41, Article XVI of the Texas Constitution.


Reports of the alleged abuse of power and disregard for official duty stem from statements made by the then-first assistant and six other top leaders of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. In an October 2020 letter to the AG’s human resource director, the whistleblowers said they have a “good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law, including prohibitions relating to improper influence, abuse of office, bribery, and other potential criminal offenses.”

The letter was signed by Jeffrey C. Mateer, First Assistant Attorney General; Ryan L. Bangert, Deputy First Assistant Attorney General; James Blake Brickman, Deputy Attorney General for Policy; Lacey E. Mase, Deputy Attorney General for Administration; Darren L. McCarty, Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation; J. Mark Penley, Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice; and Ryan M. Vassar, Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel. These leaders were hand-picked by Paxton and he appointed them to these key positions.

In a deposition in March 2023, Mark Penley stated, “if you understand what was going on, this was outrageous conduct by an Attorney General that’s supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, not the chief lawbreaking officer.”

In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry said the following regarding these whistleblowers:

I’ve spent my adult life working at almost every level of public service, and it continues to hold true that you’re only as good as the people around you. By all accounts, the people around Mr. Paxton were outstanding and principled conservatives who felt duty-bound to report what they witnessed, after they had advised the attorney general that his actions were illegal or unethical. They stood for the rule of law.

These were Mr. Paxton’s own handpicked inner circle. I can tell you firsthand those staffing decisions aren’t made lightly. Throughout my time in office, I hired and worked directly with dozens of men and women who served on my senior staff. These were my political hires, people I trusted to stand by me in the trenches. While we may not have agreed on everything, they always gave me their earnest, well-founded counsel.

Choosing to disregard your inner circle’s advice is a red flag. It shows bad judgment in a leader. But bad judgment alone isn’t impeachable—unless it involves breaking the law or abuse of office. That is what we all want to discover through this trial.

The articles of impeachment allege that Paxton disregarded his official duties and abused the process of issuing Attorney General Opinions. They allege he failed to protect a charitable organization by intervening in a lawsuit between Nate Paul and the Mitte Foundation. Paxton also reportedly abused the Open Records Act by directing employees to act contrary to requests for DPS documents.

Paxton is also accused of violating Texas law regarding how outside attorneys are appointed. The articles allege Paxton hired Houston attorney Brandon Cammack — an attorney with only five years of experience — to investigate a complaint made by Nate Paul regarding searches of his home and business by state and federal investigators, the Texas Tribune reported. Cammack reportedly issued 30 grand jury subpoenas in Paxton’s alleged efforts to help Paul.

Other articles include dereliction of duty, unfitness for office, and abuse of public trust.

House Impeachment Managers filed more than 4,000 pages of evidence to support the articles of impeachment, Breitbart News reported.


One of the first steps for Paxton’s defense team will be to “demonstrate House managers did not prove the grounds of impeachment,” Gary Polland, Houston defense attorney and former chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, told Breitbart Texas on Monday. He explained the senators “cannot worry about the political implications. They need to vote on the merits.”

“They just need to do the right thing,” Polland added. “If it is not proven, vote to acquit. If it is proven, vote to convict and move on. That’s it.”

Paxton’s supporters blame “moderate Republicans” who joined with Democrats in the House for bringing the impeachment vote forward.

Governor Perry responded to this in his op-ed: “As a sitting governor who was once wrongly indicted, I know that processes can be abused. But that isn’t what I see here.”

“The majority of House Republicans voted to impeach Mr. Paxton, as is authorized in the Texas Constitution,” Perry explained.” Those members saw allegations of wrongdoing against a fellow Republican and felt the charges deserved a full investigation and trial.”

“They followed their oath to uphold the Constitution, and that alone warrants careful consideration by the Senate,” Texas’ longest-serving, unabashedly conservative Republican governor stated. “We should be praising, not vilifying, them for taking their responsibilities seriously.”

The defense team is expected to ask the Senate to dismiss each of the articles of impeachment. A simple majority vote (16 senators) is required to pass the motion to dismiss. There are 18 Republican and 12 Democrat senators eligible to vote on these motions. 


Governor Perry said only the Texas Senate can give these allegations the full and fair hearing they deserve. ” It would be a disservice to the state not to fulfill that obligation,” Perry said. “By moving forward with the trial, the Senate will both do its duty and answer voters’ legitimate questions about the allegations against Mr. Paxton.”

Governor Perry concluded his op-ed, saying:

Texans need a conclusive resolution to the serious allegations raised by this impeachment. We’ve come this far in the process, and it’s critical that the Senate sees it through to the end. That means a fair trial that allows both sides to lay out all the facts and gives senators the opportunity to vote based on the evidence.

All who swear an oath to serve must understand they will be held to the highest standard of integrity—particularly if they serve as a state’s top law-enforcement official. Texans can show the rest of the country that the rule of law applies to both political parties.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She is a trial lawyer who served as a Texas prosecutor and family court associate judge.

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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