Texas AG Ken Paxton Won’t Be Testifying At ‘Evil’ Impeachment Hearing

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

No one was expecting embattled Texas Attorney General to go gentle into that good night. We are, after all, talking about a man so impervious to shame that he’s been happily dodging a securities fraud indictment for years, even as he threatened to arrest parents and doctors who provide gender affirming care for children on charges of child abuse and launched an investigation of the state bar after it had the temerity to suggest his election stealing efforts were less than ethical.

But Paxton seems to have kicked into survival mode at the news that his buddy Nate Paul got federally indicted about five minutes after the Texas GOP voted to impeach Paxton for taking a bribe from Paul. The legislative investigation was proximately kicked off by a request to approve a $3.3 million legal settlement with whistleblowers from Paxton’s own office who were fired after they objected to their boss abusing his office for Paul’s benefit. But it would appear that his fellow Republicans simply got tired of being forced to look away from years of naked corruption.

“We will not bow to their evil, illegal, and unprecedented weaponization of state power in the Senate chamber,” Paxton’s defense lawyer, Tony Buzbee, said Monday, vowing that his client would not testify at the impeachment trial scheduled to begin September 5.

“​​Attorney General Paxton will not dignify the illegal House action by testifying,” Buzbee railed. “The House has ignored precedent, denied him an opportunity to prepare his defense, and now wants to ambush him on the floor of the Senate. They had the opportunity to have Attorney General Paxton testify during their sham investigation but refused to do so.”

Buzbee fulminated at length on the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation, perhaps hoping that no one would notice that he’d elided the distinction between a criminal trial and a legislative action described in the state constitution.

Meanwhile, reporters are sniffing around Paxton’s assets, and have uncovered multiple properties owned by Paxton and his wife, State Senator Angela Paxton, including a parcel of land in a Utah ski town for which the couple paid $315,000 cash — roughly double their joint annual salaries — in 2021. According to the Wall Street Journal, the pair have shelled out $3.5 million for properties in Hawaii, Oklahoma, Florida, and Utah, many of which are held in an entity described as the “Esther Blind Trust.”

This would not suggest someone who should invite more public scrutiny from people with the investigative power and political capital to do him some serious damage. But Ken Paxton didn’t get where he is by playing it safe, so, let’s get ready to rumble.

Ken Paxton will not testify at impeachment trial, defense attorney says [Texas Tribune]

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics and appears on the Opening Arguments podcast.


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