Ken Paxton impeachment trial: What happens after the testimony concludes?

Tom Abrahams Image
Thursday, September 14, 2023
This Week in Texas: Big moments from Ken Paxton's trial during week 1
ABC13's political program This Week in Texas explores the most significant moments from week one of Ken Paxton's impeachment trial in Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- The two-week impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton is approaching its end, and its conclusion is dictated by a lengthy set of rules.

The Senate adopted 29 pages of rules prior to the trial and they detail how Senators will deliberate, how they will vote, and how that vote impacts Paxton's political future.

READ: Full rules and procedures for impeachment of Ken Paxton

When testimony concludes, each side gets one hour for closing arguments. When closing arguments conclude, 30 State Senators will deliberate in private. ABC13 has leaned the Senators do not plan to cast their votes during deliberations, as a jury would in a civil or criminal trial. Instead, they will discuss evidence and testimony. There is no time limit to the deliberations.

When they finish deliberating, the 30 State Senators will return to the Senate floor, on the second floor of the east side of the Texas Capitol, and cast their votes in public.

Senator Angela Paxton, the suspended Attorney General's wife may note vote or speak in the deliberations. However, her presence at the trial is an effective "nay" vote. As the 31st senator, Angela Paxton's presence increased the threshold for conviction from 20 yay votes to 21 yay votes.

It will take a two-thirds majority to convict.

The senators will vote on each of the 16 remaining articles of impeachment one at a time.

READ: Full articles of impeachment for Ken Paxton

Those votes will be on paper and all Senators will write down their vote, yay or nay, as to whether to find Paxton guilty on each charge. The silent vote is to minimize the political pressure, which might exist with an alphabetical roll call, which is typical in the Texas Senate.

The silent votes are collected, tallied, and read aloud. Each senator then must confirm his or her vote verbally.

If Paxton is guilty on any one charge, he is removed from office.

If he is convicted, there is then a 30-minute hearing to argue his permanent removal from statewide office. If senators vote yay, Paxton is prohibited from ever holding a statewide elected office. He, however, could seek local or federal seats.

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