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Top Trump Ally Ken Paxton Put on Trial For Corruption in Texas

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Ken Paxton trial

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a prominent Republican figure and staunch ally of Donald Trump, finds himself facing a trial led by fellow Republicans. The stage is set for the third-ever impeachment trial in the history of the state, as Paxton stands accused of a range of charges, including corruption and abuse of public trust.

Earlier, Paxton was impeached by an overwhelming vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, with 20 articles of impeachment against him. Now, the state Senate, convened as a high court of impeachment, will deliberate on whether to remove him from office.

Acting as the jury, the state’s 31 senators, with 19 of them being Republicans, will determine his fate, presided over by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The proceedings will be closely watched by hundreds of spectators, including members of the public and the media, from the Senate gallery.

This marks a dramatic fall from grace for Paxton, who gained national recognition as a leader of conservative opposition in red states during President Barack Obama’s tenure and later became a prominent ally of Donald Trump while he was in the White House. Paxton vehemently denies any wrongdoing and has pledged to vigorously contest the allegations.

Over 100 individuals have been subpoenaed to testify, initially scheduled to appear at the Senate chamber’s front door on Tuesday at 11 a.m., setting the stage for a remarkable political spectacle. However, Patrick subsequently modified his order to allow witnesses to appear later during the trial, under the risk of contempt of court if they fail to comply.

Among the potential witnesses are real estate developer and donor Nate Paul, who Paxton is accused of accepting bribes from, as well as current and former employees of the attorney general’s office who reportedly informed the FBI of concerns regarding bribery and abuse of office. The list also includes George P. Bush, Paxton’s primary challenger in 2022, prominent Texas political strategist Karl Rove, and Laura Olson, the individual Paxton allegedly had an extramarital affair with, as reported by The Dallas Morning News, which obtained confidential witness information.

State Sen. Angela Paxton, the attorney general’s wife, and state Sen. Bryan Hughes initially appeared on the witness lists, highlighting the deeply political and personal nature of the proceedings within the Texas Republican Party. Angela Paxton, unable to vote in her husband’s impeachment trial but required to participate as a juror, has since been removed from the list, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Paxton and his supporters, including former President Donald Trump, have already indicated potential political consequences for those involved in his impeachment. Trump, in particular, has voiced his opposition to the proceedings on his social media platform, Truth Social, and threatened to challenge Republicans in the Texas House who support Paxton’s impeachment.

Jonathan Stickland, president of the far-right Defend Texas Liberty PAC, recently appeared on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show alongside Lauren Davis, a candidate for Dallas County GOP chair, urging viewers to exert pressure on specific Republican senators to vote against impeachment. Stickland emphasized that those who vote against Ken Paxton in his impeachment trial risk their entire political careers and assured viewers that they would be held accountable for their decisions.

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