ABC13 looks ahead at suspended AG Ken Paxton's historic impeachment trial on This Week in Texas

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Sunday, September 3, 2023
This Week in Texas: A look ahead to AG Ken Paxton's impending trial
ABC13 Exclusive: Ken Paxton's impending trial

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the impeachment trial of suspended and indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton begins. The embattled Paxton faces a myriad of charges-16 articles of impeachment. His judge and jury are Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate.

Paxton, serving his third elected term (though currently suspended), is fighting for his political future. Not only might he not regain his job as the state's top government lawyer, but if convicted in the impeachment trial, he could face the prospect of being prohibited from ever running for statewide office again.

Prosecuting him is a board of managers, which consists of a dozen Republicans and Democrats from the Texas House-which overwhelmingly voted to impeachment Paxton back in May.

SEE ALSO: New poll shows how Texans feel about AG Ken Paxton's impeachment days before trial

They have hired legendary Houston attorneys Rusty Hardin and Dick Deguerin to lead the effort.

At the top of Paxton's defense team is another legal heavy hitter from Houston, Tony Buzbee.

All 31 senators will serve as jurors and will take the following oath---

"I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will impartially try Warren Kenneth Paxton, Jr., Attorney General of Texas, upon the impeachment charges submitted to me by the House of Representatives and a true verdict render according to the law, and the evidence, so help me God."

However, one senator must be present but cannot speak or have a vote in either the private deliberations or the public trial: Ken Paxton's wife, Angela, who refused to recuse herself and is prohibited from participating according to the impeachment's rules. It will take a two-thirds majority, as many as 21 senators, to convict.

RELATED: What to know about Texas' extraordinary move to impeach GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton

ABC13 discussed the complexity of this once-in-a-century trial with our panel of political insiders on our program This Week in Texas.

"You have, I would say, a majority of, or a number of senators on the Democrat side who are going to vote for conviction, period, end of story. They don't even need to hear the evidence," Republican political strategist Court Koenning said. "There are going to be people on the Republican side who are going to vote for acquittal regardless of what they hear and just the election like we hear all the time, it's those folks in the middle who are going to listen to all the evidence, going to listen to the campaign if you will, and they're going to make their decision, but you've got to get to 21. Can you get to 21? "

The trial begins Tuesday morning and could last anywhere from two to three weeks.


The embattled Texas Attorney General, who is now suspended, is facing an impeachment trial and a pending criminal trial.

"As much as people try to add criminal elements to it, a civil element to it, at the end of the day, it's a political trial, and there are going to be 31 jurors, depending on who you talk to, 30 jurors, who are going to be able to make a decision about whether or not Ken Paxton should still hold the office of Attorney General," Democratic political strategist Odus Evbagharu said.

ABC13 reporters Tom Abrahams and Nick Natario will cover the impeachment trial from Austin beginning Monday, Sept. 4.

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