With wife Senator Angela Paxton
In September 2018, Attorney General Ken Paxton gathered his staff to make a fateful confession. With two months to go before Election Day — and holding hands with his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton — the attorney general reportedly told them about an extramarital affair. He said it was over and swore to recommit to his marriage.
But Ken Paxton didn’t — the first in a series of consequential choices that Texas House impeachment managers say set off a chain of alleged crimes and coverups that, five years later, has culminated in one of the most dramatic moments in Texas political history. The once-in-a-century impeachment trial that starts Tuesday is expected to center on Paxton’s infidelity, and could air out the sordid details of the staunch, Christian conservative’s life as he sits just yards away from his wife, and her 30 Senate colleagues who will serve as jurors to decide her husband’s fate.
House impeachment managers argue that Paxton, driven in large part by his desire to continue and conceal the tryst, went to great, impeachable — and potentially criminal — lengths to hide the betrayal from his wife, and from the deeply religious voters who have sustained his political life for two decades.
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Ken Paxton’s mistress Laura Olson
The 16 accusations Paxton is facing at the impeachment trial.
7 articles – Disregard of official duty. Related to allegations that Paxton misused the power of the attorney general’s office to help a friend, real estate investor Nate Paul, and to fire high-ranking employees who reported his conduct to law enforcement.
2 articles – Bribery. Related to benefits Paxton allegedly received from Paul for using the attorney general’s office to help Paul with a federal investigation into his companies and other legal matters.
1 article – Misapplication of public resources. Accusing Paxton of misusing his agency by ordering a “sham investigation” into allegations that he improperly helped Paul, resulting in an unsigned agency report riddled with “false or misleading statements in Paxton’s defense.”
1 article – False statements in official records. Related to the “false or misleading” claims made in the agency report that cleared Paxton of wrongdoing on Paul’s behalf.
1 article – Conspiracy and attempted conspiracy. Related to Paxton’s alleged attempts to conspire with others to commit crimes while in office.
1 article – Misappropriation of public resources. Accusing Paxton of directing employees in the attorney general’s office to take actions that improperly benefitted Paul.
1 article – Dereliction of duty. Accusing Paxton of acting against the public’s interest.
1 article – Unfitness for office. Accusing Paxton of private and public misconduct that renders him unfit to remain attorney general.
1 article – Abuse of public trust. Accusing Paxton of bringing his agency “into scandal and disrepute” by misusing his official powers and obstructing the fair and impartial administration of justice.
✱ On May 27 the House voted 121-23 to approve the articles of impeachment, with 60 Republicans and 61 Democrats voting in favor. All votes against were by Republicans.
✱ Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Paxton ally, will act as judge. Senators, serving as jurors, will consider 16 of 20 articles of impeachment. The Senate previously voted to delay consideration of the other four.
✱ Each side has a total of 24 hours to present witnesses and evidence and cross-examine the opposition’s witnesses. After both sides present their evidence, each side will have one hour to present rebuttal evidence.
✱ The trial begins Tuesday at 9 a.m. Central in the Senate chamber.
✱ Sen. Angela Paxton, Ken Paxton’s wife may be seated on the floor, but she cannot vote on anything during the trial.
✱ Paxton would be immediately removed from office if two-thirds of senators, or 21, vote to sustain an article of impeachment.
✱ The trial is expected to last 2-3 weeks.