Editor’s Note: This story is no longer being updated. Follow the latest developments in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial in this story.
AUSTIN (KXAN/Nexstar) — The impeachment trial for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton is officially underway, beginning Tuesday morning despite Paxton’s requests to dismiss all articles of impeachment.
As presiding officer of the trial, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick functioned as a judge by kicking off the trial with procedural moves taking up the majority of the morning. Proceedings began with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas administering oaths to Patrick and others involved in the process, swearing in all members of the jury — the 31 senators — except for Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, who is barred from voting in the trial.
The Texas House adopted 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton. The Senate will consider 16 of those articles in the trial.
KXAN’s Ryan Chandler and Monica Madden will be covering the trial Wednesday. View their live coverage below (note: you must be signed into X to view):
The first task for the court was to rule on pretrial motions. Paxton’s attorneys had requested the Senate dismiss all of the articles of impeachment. With bipartisan votes, Texas Senate members voted to deny 16 motions from Paxton’s lawyers to dismiss articles of impeachment. Senators voted down all of Paxton’s motions, with the motion to dismiss all articles failing 24-6. The motions serve as an early test-vote to gauge the jury’s willingness to consider conviction.
After ruling on pretrial motions, the first batch of witnesses who are scheduled to testify in the impeachment trial took witness oaths in the Senate chamber. Patrick previously ordered all witnesses to appear at the Capitol on Tuesday morning.
Opening statements followed the procedural happenings of the morning, with each side given 1 hour to make their case to the jury.
As chair of the House board of impeachment managers, Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, spoke for the prosecution. He said they are there today because Paxton came to the legislature, asked for $3.3 million for a whistleblower lawsuit settlement, and did not answer questions.
“He failed to protect the state and instead used the power of his office for his own benefit and this was wrong,” Murr said.
Paxton lawyer Tony Buzbee said he believes senators will conclude “there is nothing of significance” in the allegations.
“This case is a whole lot of nothing,” Buzbee said.
It is also not clear how long the trial will last, but this is not expected to be a speedy trial.
“It looks like it’s going to be about a four week process,” State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) said during an interview for Sunday’s State of Texas politics program. Gutierrez said he believed the trial could last as long as six weeks.
“We are going to be locked in that room for eight, nine hours a day. You know, listening to the evidence,” Gutierrez said. “Ken Paxton will get a fair trial, same fair trial, impartial judgment that everybody should get in that situation. And we’ll see how it all goes.”