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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Returns to Work Following Acquittal, but Republican Divisions Persist

by Michael Nguyen
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Acquittal

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, recently acquitted of impeachment charges, has resumed his duties with familiar fervor. He pledges to continue taking legal action against the Biden administration, enjoys support from former President Donald Trump, and is preparing for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

As Paxton embarks on his first full day back in office after triumphing over accusations of corruption and bribery in the Texas Senate, he reaffirms his status as one of the most enduring political figures in the U.S., despite facing years of criminal charges and alleged scandals.

However, Paxton’s acquittal is also deepening divisions within the Republican Party. The fallout within the Texas Capitol is expected to escalate and could influence the 2024 elections. Conservative allies of Paxton, backed by Trump, have vowed to target Republican legislators who led the investigation against him.

Even the very process of impeachment in Texas may undergo scrutiny, as Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presided over the trial, calls for new safeguards, questioning how the case reached this point.

On the opposing side are Republicans in the Texas House, where Paxton was overwhelmingly impeached and suspended from office in May. They express discontent with Saturday’s verdict and criticize the lieutenant governor’s remarks.

House Speaker Dade Phelan stated, “The inescapable conclusion is that today’s outcome appears to have been orchestrated from the start, cheating the people of Texas of justice.”

Throughout the trial, Paxton, aged 60, was largely absent, and he was not present in the Senate during his acquittal on 16 impeachment articles. He denounced his impeachment as the result of a “kangaroo court” and highlighted an upcoming interview with Carlson.

The trial featured a mix of serious testimony and occasional spectacle. Former advisers accused Paxton of abusing his office, alleging that he pressured them to assist a political donor under FBI investigation. Testimony delved into debates over home renovations’ financing, the use of burner phones, and the impact of an alleged extramarital affair on his office.

Paxton consistently denied wrongdoing, with his attorneys arguing that there was either insufficient evidence or evidence that did not meet the standard of reasonable doubt. They portrayed Paxton as a victim of a plot orchestrated by Republican rivals, even alluding to political conspiracies involving figures like George P. Bush.

Trump, who endorsed Paxton during the GOP primary race, reaffirmed his support during the trial and celebrated the verdict on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Despite Paxton’s overwhelming impeachment in the Texas House, he was similarly acquitted by Senate Republicans, some of whom serve alongside his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton. Angela Paxton did not have a vote in the trial but attended its entirety.

The trial involved dramatic moments, including the potential testimony of a woman with ties to Ken Paxton. She was a central figure in the case, which alleged that Paxton went to extreme lengths to assist a local real estate developer, Nate Paul, who was under FBI investigation.

Democratic state Sen. Nathan Johnson described the deliberations as a challenging and seemingly sincere process that ultimately led to the collapse of efforts to convict Paxton. He suggested that political pressures may have influenced some senators to change their positions.

However, Paxton’s legal troubles are far from over. He still faces trial on felony securities fraud charges, remains under a separate FBI investigation, and risks losing his law license in Texas due to his baseless attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Eight of Paxton’s former deputies reported him to the FBI in 2020 over his relationship with real estate developer Paul, triggering an ongoing federal investigation. Federal prosecutors conducted a grand jury testimony in August, focused on Paxton’s actions, according to anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

Paul himself was indicted in June on charges of making false statements to banks and has pleaded not guilty.

Dan Cogdell, one of Paxton’s attorneys, expressed confidence that the securities fraud charges would be dismissed, stating, “If they don’t dismiss them, we’ll try them and beat them there just like we beat them here.”

(End of article)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Acquittal

What were the accusations against Texas AG Ken Paxton?

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton faced accusations of corruption and bribery, leading to his impeachment trial.

What was the outcome of Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial?

Ken Paxton was acquitted of all charges in the Texas Senate, allowing him to resume his duties as Texas Attorney General.

How has Ken Paxton’s acquittal affected the Republican Party?

Paxton’s acquittal has deepened divisions within the Republican Party, with some conservative allies of the Trump-backed attorney general vowing to target Republican legislators who led the investigation against him.

What legal challenges does Ken Paxton still face?

Despite his acquittal, Ken Paxton still faces trial on felony securities fraud charges, remains under FBI investigation, and is at risk of losing his law license in Texas due to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

What role did former President Donald Trump play in Ken Paxton’s trial?

Former President Trump endorsed Ken Paxton during his GOP primary race and continued to support him throughout the impeachment trial, celebrating Paxton’s acquittal on social media.

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